In her 13-page report, sent to the board and Knezovich on May 5, [the contractor hired by the Sheriff’s Office – KR] Olson praises the proactive approach the sheriff and board members took in soliciting an outside look at their oversight approach. She offered several reform ideas, including instituting term limits for board members and asserting more authority in recruitment and requesting reviews of certain cases and policies.
Olson’s $5,000 visit and evaluation were paid from the sheriff’s budget. Knezovichcalled her observations “well thought-out.” But he said his office did not have the budget to hire a full-time staffer.
Knezovich also said some reformers had unrealistic expectations about the independence of that position, pointing out that members of the Spokane Office of the Police Ombudsman are paid by the city.
“Doesn’t that just put me back in the same position, with people saying, the sheriff hired this person?” Knezovich said. “There is no complete independence. You’ll never get that.”
Bob West, vice president of the Citizen’s Advisory Board, said he’s been working with Spokane County Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn on freeing up some money for a paid staffer.
“It would be nice if we could have our own office, like how people go to the city ombudsman now,” said West. [CAB currently holds meetings in a meeting room adjacent to Ozzie Knezovich’s personal office]