Spokane Police

News about Spokane Police Department topics, including investigations, crime, use of force, and investigations into the department.

Spokane Council Turns Down Agreement With Police Guild

Jun 29, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Spokane City Council voted unanimously Monday night not to ratify a contract agreement between the city and the Police Guild.

That agreement would have given raises, retroactively, to officers all way the back to 2016.

The seven-zero vote came as council members said the proposal doesn’t give the city enough authority over the actions of the officers in the department.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward today [Monday] announced the city will move its downtown police precinct to the former Umpqua [UMP-kwah] Bank building at Riverside and Wall.

During last fall’s campaign, Woodward had expressed displeasure with the current precinct location at the Intermodal Transportation Center several blocks to the southeast. She said it was too far out of the way and vowed to bring the police hub closer to the center of the core.

Photo by Paul Dillon

Planned Parenthood officials say the city of Spokane should do more to control protests that are routinely happening outside their Spokane clinic.

The protests by anti-abortion activists have been occurring about every month. They're sponsored by a group calling itself “The Church at Planned Parenthood” and often number more than 200 people, with members speaking through a public address system.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Frontier Behavioral Health is expanding its partnership with Spokane area law enforcement agencies to provide mental health expertise on police patrols. That partnership is still relatively new, but it’s been widely praised for diverting people away from the jail and into services they need.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Suicide has become more common in categories of people we’ve long considered strong and invulnerable, such as military veterans and police officers. That has caught the attention of people within those communities. Many are meeting today [Tuesday] in Spokane Valley to talk about their mental health and wellness.

Spokane Police Arrest Man After Downtown Standoff

Oct 1, 2019
Spokane Police

Spokane Police say a man who barricaded himself for a few hours in a downtown gas station was arrested late last night [Monday].

The standoff came after a traffic stop earlier in the evening.

Wednesday on the Inland Journal podcast, police officers and mental health professionals in Spokane are working together to divert people away from jail. We talk with Jan Dobbs from Frontier Behavioral Health and police Sergeant Nate Spiering about the project that pairs officers on patrol with mental health clinicians. We’ll learn about their respective roles and how their partnership is working.

Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl this afternoon [Tuesday] issued a statement related to last night’s fatal officer-involved shooting last night in north central Spokane.

Steve Petrucelli via flickr

In a unanimous vote, the Spokane City Council voted Monday to approve giving Mayor David Condon a letter that questions his handling of the alleged harassment investigation involving former Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub.

DNA Match Blows Open Spokane’s Ruby Doss Cold Case

Apr 30, 2015
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

People living in Spokane in 1986 may remember this name: Ruby Doss. She was strangled to death and found by a transient, and police never found her killer. Thursday, Spokane Police said they have a suspect: Richard J Aguirre.

Race and Police group
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Spokane police have reacted quickly to a new report that shows racial disproportion in the rate of arrests. The police department (SPD) and the city’s multicultural affairs committee have formed a work-group to address why people of color are arrested at higher rates.

Spokane Police
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Spokane’s Use of Force Commission has concluded its two-year review of the Spokane Police Department with a letter to the mayor. The commission acknowledged improvements in its 26 recommendations from 2013, but notes two areas left undone.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Wednesday night, Spokane Police officers busted three men for soliciting prostitution on east Sprague Avenue. It was the first sting since the police department started an anti-prostitution campaign there last month.

Hillyard Opening Doors to Change With Police Precinct

Mar 17, 2015

Tuesday the Spokane Police Department opened its second official police precinct, right in the heart of the Hillyard neighborhood. It comes at the beginning of a wave of change for the old industrial area.

Business owners and residents stepped in from the rain for tours of the new precinct. 15 officers and staff, including a captain and three lieutenants, will eventually call the Hillyard station home-base. Police Chief Frank Straub says Hillyard has seen a recent drop in its crime percentage, but says actions will speak louder than statistics.

Domestic Violence Survivors Have New Support At YWCA

Feb 5, 2015

Victims of domestic violence in Spokane now have a warm, family friendly center where they can get help. Thursday, city leaders opened a new Family Justice Center in the YWCA building.

Downtown Assault Strikes Cord With Human Rights Group

Feb 3, 2015

The Spokane Police Department arrested two men Tuesday on suspicion of assaulting a woman Friday at Boots Bakery. Police arrested Adam Flippen on charges of 2nd degree assault and malicious harassment, and Marc Fessler on one charge of malicious harassment. The assault on the woman, who is transgender, has human rights advocates are on alert.

Straub has welcomed body cameras since he was hired, but has several concerns about their implications.
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

The rollout of police body cameras in Washington has been slow, even for Spokane which purchased 220 of the devices. Before full implementation, police leaders will ask the legislature for changes. 

Spokane Police leaders tout the department’s body cameras as proof of positive change. But for now only about 30 are using them on duty. Police chief Frank Straub says police departments needs clarification on the public records process, since uploading and sorting hours and hours of police footage will be a large personnel task. He says the legislature should address it this year.

The citizen’s protector within the police department has left the building. Spokane’s first Police Ombudsman, Tim Burns, resigned in December for a job in California. Burns was hired as the first ombudsman just a few years after Otto Zehm’s death at the hands of police rattled people’s trust in law enforcement.

A five member committee will hire his successor, with one member chosen by each the mayor, city council, police guild, lieutenants and captains association, and the committee will pick the final member.

The US Department of Justice released a one year report Friday on the Spokane Police Department, giving 42 recommendations. The collaborative review shows administrative and leadership problems, but asserts Spokane police do not routinely using too much force.

Ron Davis directs the Department of Justice COPS program and said this is only the second review of its kind. He says with policing issues arising nationwide, five or more reviews will happen next year.

Department of Justice
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

The U-S Department of Justice has found leadership was lacking amongst Spokane police for more than eight years. This came in a list of 42 recommendations handed down by the federal COPS program to the Spokane Police Department Friday.

Police Working Out Body Camera Kinks Early

Sep 12, 2014
The SPD has 17 officers wearing body cameras that strap to the chest. All officers will wear them in 2015.
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

In Spokane, 17 police officers are donning body cameras, as a trial run before the whole department starts to wear them next year. Officers have found the small, square cameras have a lot of quirks, both technically and ethically.

City leaders announced the proposed 2015 budget Tuesday in a parking lot in Hillyard, northeast Spokane. Mayor David Condon says in the past two years the city has built a sustainable operating budget, which allows them to shift attention to the capital budget in 2015.

Police Chief: ‘Public Health Crisis’ in Spokane

Jul 10, 2014
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

This week, law enforcement and mental health officials have been overloaded in the Inland Northwest. Two people in Spokane and two people in Post Falls have died from domestic violence attacks. These tragedies, plus a rise in self-harm cases, have officials putting the spotlight on mental health.

Police say Tuesday, Chris Henderson arrived at his wife Sheena Henderson’s work, at Deaconess Medical Center, and shot her, then himself. They had two children, who are now with relatives. Officers say this is an example of a regional need for mental health resources.

Thompson Loses Bid For New Trial in Zehm Case

Jun 17, 2014

Ex-Spokane police officer Karl Thompson has lost his bid to get a new trial in the 2006 beating death of Otto Zehm. Thompson's main argument revolved around prosecutors' failure to disclose possibly exculpatory evidence from one of its expert witnesses, Grant Fredericks. 

For the first time in five years, hopeful police officers will be able to complete their full training in eastern Washington. Police leaders announced last week that the Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy is to be reestablished in Spokane.

City Reaches Deal With Former Chief Stephens

Apr 26, 2014

The mayor of Spokane announced Friday a settlement between the city and a police officer. The city will pay Scott Stephens $190,000, equivalent to one year’s pay plus benefits as an assistant chief. When Stephens was demoted in December, the police chief received a report that Stephens made threatening statements due to his downgrading.  The city gave no direct explanation of this at the time, but placed Stephens on administrative leave.

The city administration will start the process of creating a police ombudsman commission this month. The commission will be made up of Spokane citizens, and its formation begins with two public hearings. The police ombudsman is tasked with reviewing police conduct and doing outreach with citizens. The commission will monitor the quality of the ombudsman’s work, and can request the ombudsman perform further investigations.


Police in Spokane have arrested a second suspect in the murder of Spokane businessman Douglas Carlile. The Spokane Police Department says suspect Robby Wahrer drove the van used in the killing. Suspect Timothy Suckow is charged with first-degree murder in Carlile’s death. Major Crimes Lieutenant Mark Griffiths says officers arrested Wahrer on Thursday for second degree murder and conspiracy to commit second degree murder.


When a citizen uses deadly force against another person, their actions are reviewed through the scope of Washington state law. Part of Washington law explains when it is justifiable for a person to commit homicide. Deputy Travis Pendell at the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office says it’s important people know the law in terms of protecting their safety.