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Leadership changes afoot in Spokane Police command staff

By Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , jeffhu@kxly.com
Published On: Jan 31 2014 07:00:30 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 31 2014 08:21:17 PM CST
Spokane Police Lt Craig Meidl
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Big changes are underway at the Spokane Police Department after Assistant Police Chief Craig Meidl demoted himself to a position on the force that pays a lot less and has fewer perks.

But that's not the only command staff shakeup hitting the department.

Police Chief Frank Straub is seeking approval from the Spokane City Council to approve hiring an outsider to oversee the investigative division, which, if approved, would be the first time the detectives that solve murders and robberies would be answering to a civilian.

That individual is Selby Smith, who has been working as the resident agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Smith has a 23-year career with the DEA and prior to that was a major in the Air Force security forces.

Straub said Smith would bring the department new ways to deal with Spokane's drug problems, the driving force behind most of our property crimes. Smith would also be tasked with stepping up seizing the assets of big time drug dealers and reinvesting that money in the department.

"Asset forfeiture gives police department's the ability to buy equipment that you normally wouldn't buy through a budgetary process whether it's cameras or GPS devices send officers to training related to narcotics enforcement," Straub said.

While he was willing to talk about the potential hiring of Smith to lead his department's detectives, Straub was not willing to comment on Meidl's decision to leave the assistant chief position. The decision was confirmed by an e-mail to the media Friday morning, the contents of which are below.

Some people say Meidl wants to spend more time with his family but other KXLY sources are saying Meidl and Straub were no longer seeing eye-to-eye on important issues.

News Release: Assistant Chief Meidl

Spokane Police Department Assistant Chief Craig Meidl has decided to return to patrol in his civil service rank as a lieutenant (the position of assistant chief is an appointed position). 

During his tenure as the SPD's Assistant Chief, Craig has led many important initiatives - initiatives that have helped move the SPD forward, reduce crime and build stronger relationships with the community we serve.  Craig has served as assistant chief for the past 14 months.  Prior to his service as assistant chief, Craig served as a major for two years and a lieutenant for four years. Additionally, he has honorably served in a variety of other positions since his hire in 1994. 

In all of the positions he has held, Craig has done an exceptional job and has shown outstanding dedication to the department.

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