The field of applicants wanting to be Spokane’s next police ombudsman has been narrowed to three finalists and includes a retired law enforcement whistleblower from Florida, a former Southern California police officer now working as a North Idaho private eye and a Canadian police misconduct investigator.
But with the city’s police oversight panel gutted by forced resignations and the removal of former NAACP President Rachel Dolezal, further progress will have to wait as Spokane City Council members and Mayor David Condon evaluate potential replacements.
City Council President Ben Stuckart said the council and the mayor are moving quickly to get the five-member commission operational again. Currently, it has just two members left following an investigation into mistreatment of city staff.
Although the final hiring decision rests with the volunteer commission, the finalists were named by a separate search committee.
According to the city, the finalists are:
• Robert Breeden, a former assistant agent in charge of the Miami region of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement who also has worked as a deputy sheriff in rural Florida and as an officer with the Tallahassee Police Department. According to news reports earlier this year, Breeden filed a whistleblower complaint alleging he was forced to retire after advising his supervisors in 2013 of “gross misconduct” by the region’s former top agent.
• Allen Huggins, a former police captain in Costa Mesa, California, who now lives in Coeur d’Alene and operates Paragon Investigative Services, which specializes in personnel investigations for government agencies and other employers. His experience also includes oversight of the Costa Mesa Police Department’s professional standards unit.
In February, Huggins was named one of five finalists for police chief in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and in March he was one of four finalists for police chief in Twin Falls, Idaho.
• Raheel Humayun, an investigator with British Columbia’s Office of the Ombudsperson, which investigates complaints of misconduct against public authorities. He also served as an instructor with the Justice Institute of British Columbia and as a forensics investigator with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Spokane has been without an ombudsman since Jan. 2, when Tim Burns resigned to take another job. He had been the city’s ombudsman since 2009. The position was created in 2008 in response to concerns about police conduct in the Otto Zehm investigation.
Staff reporter Nina Culver contributed to this report.
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