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Star For Immediate Release
December 19, 2014

CONTACT: Silas Darden
silas.darden@usdoj.gov


Department of Justice Completes Collaborative Reform Review of Spokane Police Department's use of Policies and Practices

COPS Office Releases 42 Findings and Recommendations to Implement Best Practice at the Spokane Police Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) announced today the completion of a Collaborative Reform Review of the Spokane Police Department's use of force policies and practices. The new report, funded by a grant from the COPS Office's Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance, lists 42 findings and recommendations to address use of force practices, improve tactical policing strategies and build stronger collaborative relationships between local police and the communities they protect.

“The COPS office is confident in the Spokane Police Department's capability to implement these evidence based recommendations and build on their commitment to building a stronger community,” said Director Ronald Davis of the COPS Office. “We look forward to strengthening the collaborative relationship between the community and law enforcement to ensure that this process remains expansive, transparent and inclusive.”

The COPS office first announced the beginning of the Collaborative Reform Review in February 2013. The scope of the work announced today reviewed the use of force over the last five years, including an analysis of policies, training, investigation and community outreach efforts. Interviews were conducted with 140 area stakeholders, including community members, current and former officers and prosecutors, community organizations and police union officials. The 11-month assessment concluded that police officers in the Spokane Police Department do not routinely and deliberately engage in excessive use of force or deadly force. The report also did not find a biased application of use of force. Other findings and recommendations include the need for improvements in use of force documentation and investigation practices used by the police department. The review also outlined the need to formalize the roles and responsibilities of the ombudsman and the commission members.

“I want to thank the COPS Office for engaging in the collaborative reform process,” said Chief Frank G. Straub of the Spokane Police Department. “I believe the findings and recommendations provide an important road map for us to improve our internal business practices and more importantly better engage with the community we serve. We are fully committed to implementing all of the recommendations within the 18-month timeframe and continuing to serve all members of the Spokane community with dignity, integrity and respect.”

The report was administered as part of the COPS Office's Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance, designed to provide technical assistance to agencies facing significant law enforcement-related issues. Using subject matter experts, interviews and direct observations, as well as conducting extensive research and analysis, the COPS Office assists law enforcement agencies with enhancing and improving their policies and procedures, their operating systems and their professional culture. The COPS Office can issue a series of recommendations and be instrumental in assisting agencies with the implementation of those recommendations.

The report, The Collaborative Reform Model: A Review of Use of Force Policies, Processes, and Practices in the Spokane Police Department, can be found online here.

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The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 125,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance. For additional information about COPS, please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov.