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Spokane attorney Dustin Howie joins OII Advisory Board

A new defense attorney has joined the Washington State Office of Independent Investigations (OII) 11-member Advisory Board.

The newest member is Dustin Howie, an Assistant City Public Defender at the City of Spokane Public Defender's Office since 2019. He previously served as an Assistant City Prosecutor for the City of Spokane. He has been involved in complex litigation across the state with a focus on police accountability and transparency in law enforcement. Howie participates in the defense attorney community, annually delivering lectures, webinars, and training seminars.

Howie received his law degree from the Gonzaga University School of Law and has a Bachelor's in Molecular Cell Biology and Analytical Chemistry from Vancouver Island University in British Columbia, Canada.

"My interest in joining the board is a result of my belief that an independent investigatory body is invaluable to ensure that a transparent investigation is conducted," Howie said. "As a board member, I want to contribute to the development of Washington's independent investigations agency as a national model."

OII Advisory Board members perform a critical role, including reviewing agency policies and protocols and approving any hiring of potential OII investigators who have been in law enforcement within 24 months of applying. The board also recommends candidates for the agency's director position, which is a three-year appointment. The board does not have a role in OII investigations.

According to OII's statute (RCW 43.102.130), the advisory board must include family members affected by incidents of police use of deadly force, law enforcement, a police chief who is a member of an Independent Investigation Team, community members, a representative of a federally recognized Washington tribe, a mental health professional, a prosecutor, a member of the Criminal Justice Training Commission, and a defense attorney.

The position filled by a defense attorney had been vacant since June 2023 following the resignation of Breean Beggs upon his appointment as a Spokane County Superior Court judge. Howie applied for the position in October 2023 and was formally appointed to the board on May 1, 2024.

The OII Advisory Board, including co-chairs Fred Thomas, whose son was shot and killed by police in 2013, and Eric Drever, chief of the Tukwila Police Department, welcomed Howie’s appointment to the board.

"I am pleased that Dustin has joined the board and believe he will bring a fresh and important voice to the group as we engage in this critical work," Thomas said.

"Having a defense attorney on our board is important not only to maintain balance, but also because Dustin's involvement in the Spokane community helps ensure that we have representatives from across the state," Drever said.

OII Advisory Board members are not compensated for their time. They meet monthly in virtual meetings with members participating statewide.


The state Legislature created OII in 2021 to conduct independent and unbiased investigations of deadly use of force by law enforcement. OII is unique in the nation and has a civilian director. It also works with an 11-member advisory board that reviews and provides input on agency policies. OII is not yet conducting investigations but has activated a hotline for law enforcement agencies to report incidents of use of deadly force.

Media inquiries can be directed to Kimberly Diaz, Media Relations Coordinator,, 360-790-1247.