SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Mayor David Condon is still going forward with the search for the city's new police chief, despite that a panel of law enforcement officials unanimously decided that the top two candidates for the position were unqualified.
On Tuesday, KHQ learned that the Law Enforcement panel, who helped advise the Mayor on the police chief search, believed that none of the candidates were right for the job and suggested Condon re-open the search for the police chief.
The top two candidates are Daniel Mahoney, Commanding Officer of the Ingleside Police Station within the San Francisco Police Department; and Frank Straub, Director of Public Safety for the City of Indianapolis and former Commissioner of the City of White Plains, N.Y, Department of Public Safety.
The finalists were determined through two initial screening rounds. The Mayor's Advisory Board on Policing completed a review and ranking of all applications, and several City senior managers then completed phone interviews with seven top candidates. The City then narrowed it down to four. Last Wednesday, the candidates formally interviewed at City Hall before the public.
Wednesday, the City announced Mahoney and Straub were the front runners.
But the Law Enforcement panel felt both candidates lacked experience as a top cop.
"The panel felt that the next chief of police needed to have very good experience as a chief - had actually been a police chief." Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said, who sits on the Law Enforcement panel. "So that was one of the over-arching criteria. Then there was a comfort level and questions that were asked during the interview that led to that decision."
On Wednesday,on the heels of his proposed budget announcement, Condon answered media questions about the search. when asked directly if the mayor believed Mahoney or Straub would become Spokane's next top cop, the Mayor didn't hesitate: "I'm very confident," he said. While the panel's input matters, the Mayor said, he ultimately responds to what the citizens want in making his final decision. "I also think it's key that, that's one component. The citizens, through hiring me, hire your police chief and the citizens get to decide who runs their city. Lets not forget that," Condon said. The Mayor and several other members from City Hall are heading to Mahoney's and Straub's home towns to continue the vetting process. Should the Mayor appoint Mahoney or Straub, both Sheriff Knezovich and Interim Spokane Police Chief Scott Stephens said they would support the new chief 100%. Between the two candidates, Knezovich said the Law Enforcement panel would prefer Mahoney based on his answers during last Wednesday's public interviews held at City Hall.
Citizens can provide their feedback on the candidates at the interviews in City Hall or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.