June 16, 2009

Spokane’s first police ombudsman selected

The Spokesman-Review
 
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A retired police officer now working as a neighborhood preservation advocate in California is Spokane Mayor Mary Verner’s choice to serve as the city’s first police ombudsman.

Timothy Burns, of Visalia, Calif., was one of three finalists for the job. Verner’s selection is contingent on City Council confirmation.

“I am excited to be able to move this process closer to conclusion,” Verner said in a prepared statement. “I believe Mr. Burns is the right selection for our community.”

According to the mayor’s office, 128 people applied for the position that will pay $77,130 to $94,628 annually.

The City Council approved the creation of the ombudsman position last year after questions arose about police conduct in several high-profile cases, including the death of Otto Zehm, a mentally ill janitor wrongly accused of robbery who died following a police confrontation in 2006.

The other finalists were: Tony Betz, a retired FBI official now serving as an instructor at Texas A&M University; and Greg Weber, a Spokane attorney and former deputy director of the Washington attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

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