SPOKANE, Wash. -- In the first nine months of 2013, there had already been nearly 100 investigations into Spokane Police officer conduct - a big jump from the previous two years.
The numbers do not mean, however, there were more complaints against officers.
The investigations reviewed by KREM 2 News ranged from an officer staying at a burglary call for only 17 minutes to alleged use of excessive force on a medical call.
“Nothing falls through the cracks, gets swept under the carpet, or is dismissed,” said Spokane Police Ombudsman Tim Burns. “It's all looked at through a microscope.”
Internal Affairs investigators looked at 96 cases in 2013 so far in 2013, a more than 30 percent increase from 2011. Burns said, however, the increase should not necessarily cause concern.
“No, I would suggest we’re on track for a similar year to last year,” he said.
Some complaints can be resolved without a full-blown investigation. Burns said complaints were down significantly in 2013 but the number of investigations actually increased because more of those complaints needed a closer look this year.
“We never try to minimize a complaint,” said Burns, “but through a critical analysis about 90 percent, the officers performed to at least the minimum expectations.”
Burns emphasized, however, that when there is evidence of officer misconduct, consequences are swift and severe.
Half of investigations that do point to officer misconduct, Burns added, were initiated by an officer reporting the behavior of a fellow officer.