North Notes
Spokane-North Rotary Club Bulletin
October 3, 2022
            Oct. 10: No meeting: Indigenous Peoples federal holiday.
            Oct. 17: Noon lunch, at the Bark.   Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney candidates, Larry Haskell and Deb Conklin.
            Oct. 24: Noon lunch, at the Bark. Spokane County Commission candidates: Kim Plese and Chris Jordan.
            Oct. 31: Noon lunch, at the Bark. Rotary District 5080 Gov. Linda Kay Bauer.
Happy Bucks:
            Dave Hayward was $5 happy for the Cougs win over the Cal Bears.  How happy will he be if WSU beats USC?
            Bill Simer was happy for a positive report with a friend’s cancer prognosis.
            Melinda Keberle enjoyed the Spokane Jazz Orchestra concert with her son and the Romneys.
On tap: Prosecuting Attorneys, Commission Dist. 1
            Candidates for Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney and Spokane County Commission District 1 will visit during October.
            Prior to each luncheon program, club members are invited to send e-mails or offer questions on notecards for the candidates to respond.
            On Oct. 17, the Prosecuting Attorney candidates are Larry Haskell and Deb Conklin.  Send or bring your comments to moderator Brian Hipperson.
            On Oct. 24, Kim Plese and Chris Jordan will discuss their race for District 1.  Contact moderator Chuck Rehberg for questions to ask them.
Sheriffs want more manpower and a new jail
            The new Spokane County Sheriff would like a new jail and some more deputies to help put some criminals in jail.
            At the Oct. 3 club luncheon Sheriff candidates John Nowels and Wade Nelson discussed a wide-ranging topics at a lively 45-minute debate.
                        Moderator, Chuck Rehberg
                        John Nowels                                      Wade Nelson
            Topics included the jail, manpower and recruiting issues, homelessness, curbing fentanyl, response to property crime and gang violence in Spokane.
            The Nov. 8 election will decide who will succeed Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who is retiring after 16 years in office.  
            Nowels, the county undersheriff, was been with the county 24 years, serving in various ranks, including the commander of the regional drug task force and a member of a federal office of community oriented policing service.  He graduated from EWU, has a master’s degree in administrative leadership from the University of Oklahoma and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
            Nelson served 6 years in naval intelligence and served with the sheriff’s office for 20 years, including leadership positions with the Critical Incident Management unit, the Tac Team, emergency operations and defensive tactics self-defense program
            After opening comments, the candidates talked about manpower and recruiting.
            It was noted that many law enforcement units are understaffed.  Seattle’s mayor said in the past 2-1/2 years, Seattle alone has lost 460 officers.
            Nowels said six positions were filled that morning and the ranks are down just 10 from the 247 slots.  He said part of the program is having enough training spots.
            About recruitment, program moderator Chuck Rehberg asked about Knezovich’s posting a job application on a billboard in New York’s Times Square.  Nowels said one applicant resulted in that effort, but the media coverage spurred applicants from a number of other cities.
            Nelson wants an incentive program to attract applicants, with bonuses for sheriff’s deputies who recruit new officers.  He also wants more training spots and an outreach to schools for new deputies.
            Both candidates want Spokane to build a new jail to replace the facility.  Six stories, it was built in 1986 for $22 million.  Manpower is also an issue, as there was some concern about closing part of the Geiger Heights facility in Airway Heights for lack of adequate staffing downtown.
            Nowels said it will take funding to add staffing and a new jail will be expensive, but the money is needed as the county population grows.  
            Regarding homelessness, Nelson said it will take a fully coordinated effort from local, county and the state, plus churches and other private concerns to deal with the issues.  He said the county and sheriff’s office were not included in the early discussions about Camp Hope and that was a mistake.
            Nowels said the sheriff’s office could be involved in the rampant crime occurring near Camp Hope on east Second Ave. near I-90.  He said a number of retailers near that area fear closing stores or facing bankruptcy there.
            Both candidates said the rise of the potent opioid fentanyl is alarming, locally and nationally.  In combatting the rising drug use, Nowels cited his service on the drug force and Nelson discussed his work to curb other drug use.
            Asked about slow or little response to property crime, Nowels said that issue remains an important concern and responses are not ignored.  Nelson said adding more deputies could help speed the responses.
            Of gang violence, Nowels said unless adult gang members locate here, the gang issues usually involve youth issues and answers should be targeted there.  Nelson mentioned how deputies are located in the Spokane Valley and more manpower also will help with dealing with gang members.
            One big common solution to the various questions is to fund adequate manpower for the sheriff’s office and a second concern is to build a new jail.
             Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink