A friend of mine, a good cop, retired from the Spokane Police Department a couple years back. Don Giese was a major crimes detective for most of his years in service with the blue in Spokane. Over the last decades, the breaking stories on many of the local 5 O’clock newscasts showed Don coming out of a crime scene escorting a gurney with a body strapped on it, time after time (a different body each time, of course).
I asked Don why he was always in the company of a deceased person when I saw him on T.V.
Don answered, “As far as murder scenes, there is only one lead detective and the others are there to assist in any way that they can. That’s why you saw me at many crime scenes although I may have not been the lead on some.”
I am too kind to deflate Don by telling him that I already knew about the “one lead detective” stuff. I had learned it from watching 48 HOURS and other cop reality shows. And he returned the favor by not deflating me when I showed him my Captain’s Badge from the School Safety Patrol during my days at Whitman School on the north side of Spokane. He just said “Nice” and nodded at the badge. Law men who respect each other act that way. I didn’t tell Don that Carol Gregerson was my co-captain at Whitman School. I always guessed that Principal Walter Denman didn’t think I could handle the job on my own. But a girl?
One weekend several years ago, I was in Seattle and picked up a newspaper and took a look, there was Don Giese, getting some ink in the Seattle P.I. I guess any PR is good for movie stars and major crimes detectives looking for information, phone number included:
“Two fishermen found the torso of a woman, age 25-40, near the T.J. Meenach Bridge on the Spokane River on June 20, 1984. The woman, who may have borne children, was dismembered while alive. She was believed to have blond hair and was about 5-foot and relatively thin. She had moles on her neck and imperfect teeth. Her skull was found April 19, 1998, in a vacant lot used for dumping fill materials. Contact Spokane Detective Don Giese, 509-625-4219.”
I became friends with Don Giese through my cousin Ken Krogh who is also a retired major crimes detective for Spokane. Ken was more in the mold of the “Bad Cop”. Of course, it was hard for me to muster a lot of respect for a younger snot-nosed cousin who snitched me off to his aunt, my mother, at least twice a day (we lived next door to each other while growing up). I hope that some of the beatings that I applied to young Ken helped him to become skilled at dodging the inevitable swings that came his way from punks and criminals. He owes me a lot.
Don Giese says that it’s hard to pick which case was his most interesting, “They all are interesting on their own merits. Probablyone of the cases that comes to mind is the murder of Rebecca Headman, a 13 year old prostitute who was murdered at the Ranch Motel in the early 90’s by John Medlock. He ran off to Canada and we had a hell of a time getting him back for trial. His mom hired Seattle defense attorney John Muenster who defended Willie Mac in Seattle’s Wah Mee massacre. Medlock was found guilty and is now residing in the State Pen in Walla Walla. That makes it interesting. Working a crime in two countries gets tricky.”
So if you are ever driving down Hamilton Street in the afternoon, stop in at Jack and Dan’s and ask if “Goose” is in the place. Have a beer with Don Giese. Chat him up. He’s a nice man who did a great long service for the city of Spokane. My cousin Ken Krogh might be in the place too. He’s not so nice, the bad cop. I may be partially responsible for Ken never really respecting the badge. When we were kids, I pinned on my School Safety Patrolman’s badge before I administered the beatings that he had coming to him.