by Jacob Jones
After more than a year of public input and institutional introspection, the city's Use of Force Commission plans to hold its final public comment meeting at 2 pm today on recommended reforms at the Spokane Police Department.
The independent commission released its 29-page draft report in late December, outlining 26 recommendations to improve operations and procedures at the department.
Those highly anticipated recommendations called for the department to embrace a culture of de-escalation, increase transparency and bolster community relations.
The commission is holding a final open public comment meeting at 2 pm today at the Northeast Community Center on North Cook Street. The meeting is scheduled to last about two hours depending on the number of speakers.
Commission Chairman Earl Martin says public comments on the preliminary recommendations will be reviewed and potentially incorporated into a final report later this year.
Emailed comments must also be submitted by today to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Center for Justice also submitted a letter to the Mayor's Office on Monday asking the city to extend the commission's term for at least another three years to monitor the police department's implementation of the recommended reforms.
Center Director Rick Eichstaedt writes that the commission has offered many constructive recommendations, but the real test will be in whether the department can effectively pay for and adopt the reforms.
"Funding and implementation are key to the success of any reforms," he writes. "Our biggest concern is that the fine work of the Commission will be for naught — or at least severely compromised — absent a commitment to systemic implementation."
The center also submitted several comments on suggestions for improving the final report. Those comments can be read below.