It’s a bell Spokane Police ombudsman Tim Burns likes to ring every chance he gets. He even chimed in at Monday’s public safety committee to recommend the activity of ride-alongs.They’re an opportunity to see what officers face on a daily basis, but Burns says it goes beyond that; it’s a chance to see these men and women as more than just police officers.
“They’re people like the rest of us,” Burns said Wednesday during an interview at his eclectically-styled office in downtown Spokane.
“Oftentimes when you see them drive by, all you see is the car and then the uniform,” Burns explained. “You don’t understand what goes on behind that. When you better understand them, you can understand their commitment to service and the community.”
Burns tries to take a ride-along once a month. He says many other city officials have done the same. Mayor David Condon was spotted on a ride-along earlier this month. During his ride-along with Officer Jay Kernkamp, they responded to a high-speed chase through North Spokane that brought them to the scene of a crash in Hillyard.
For Burns, it’s a little different. Being on the road with officers gives the officers a chance to see what he does as police ombudsman.
“My office can serve a valuable role in this,” Burns said. He added, “Part of it is seeing what I do and their awareness of who I am.”
Burns is not some shadowy figure with an unusual title. He’s just a guy with a fish bowl on his desk trying to make a better community.
He calls his office fish: “Fish”.