Ex-Indianapolis public safety director Straub resigns post as Spokane, WA police chief

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Frank Straub (Photo: KREM)

SPOKANE, Wash. (Sept. 22, 2015)– KREM is reporting Indianapolis’ former public safety director resigned his post as chief of the Spokane, Washington Police Department.

Dr. Frank Straub’s departure comes three years after he was forced out of his job in Indianapolis.

Sources report Straub is resigning to be closer to his family.

Straub brought a message of accountability to the Spokane department as he did to Indianapolis when arrived in the Midwest from his native New York in 2010.

His tenure in Indianapolis, however, was marked by controversy, scandal and budget mismanagement.

While Straub fulfilled Mayor Greg Ballard’s mandate as an agent of change by leading an upheaval of the status quo, he left behind a police department wracked by devastated morale, unable to pay its bills in a timely manner and under public and internal suspicion.

The low point was the arrest of IMPD Officer David Bisard following a fatal on-duty drunk driving crash that killed a motorcyclist and injured two other people eight months after Straub’s arrival.

The potential mishandling of key evidence in Bisard case cost Police Chief Paul Ciesielski his job and resulted in the demotions of three command officers.

Those top cops later sued the department and received collectively a $270,000 settlement from the city for their reassignments.

Straub’s failed promise to deliver the results of an investigation into what he claimed was alleged decades-long systemic corruption within the department led to an angry showdown with Ballard’s office and his resignation in the spring of 2012.

Amid attempts to remain past his August, 2012, departure date it was revealed Straub was involved in an affair with the city’s animal control officer who resigned her position and joined her ex-boss in Spokane.

Following Straub’s departure his successor, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, inherited multiple problems including a massive budget deficit, a declining workforce, the trouble-plagued Regional Operations Center and a revamped police communications system that is on the brink of failure.

Riggs recently left the Ballard Administration for a public safety curriculum position at IUPUI having righted the IMPD budget, hired more than one hundred new officers, closed and rehabbed the ROC and successfully renegotiated the failed communications system contract.

The Police Captains and Lieutenants Association which represents Spokane’s police command officers recently criticized Straub’s abrasive style which allegedly included profanity-laced screaming at subordinates, a complaint that echoed reports during his time as Indianapolis’ public safety leader.

Straub’s resignation as police chief takes effect immediately though he will remain assigned to the Office of the City Attorney until January 1.

Spokane Mayor David Condon issued a statement praising the momentum Straub leaves behind, including the introduction of body cameras for officers and reviewing department policies in dealing with mentally handicapped citizens.

Straub’s time in the Spokane chief’s office was marked by constant turnover among his command staff.

In a statement, Straub said that while he was proud of the work he led to re-engage Spokane P.D. with the city’s residents, “Rather than engage in a public discussion that distracts from making Spokane safer I have told the Mayor that it is time for new energy and perspective.”

Straub leaves behind a job that paid him $177,000 last year.

 

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