Spokane’s police ombudsman commission decided to offer ex-Florida Department of Law Enforcement supervisor Robert Breeden a four-month appointment as a temporary police ombudsman Wednesday night, balancing calls to fill the post immediately with lingering concerns about Breeden’s background.
It’s not clear whether Breeden will accept the post, however. He was not among the seven ombudsman applicants who also asked to be considered for the temporary job.
The unanimous decision came after more than an hour of discussion among the five commissioners, with frequent comments from members of the public urging them to make a choice between Breeden and Raheel Humayun, another finalist who works as an investigator in the British Columbia Office of the Ombudsperson. Commissioners also discussed the possibility of delaying a decision to allow more time for background checks, or rejecting all finalists offered by a city search committee.
Breeden drew public support for his enthusiasm for the job and work leading internal investigations in Florida, but concerned some commissioners because an internal investigation in 2014 found he behaved inappropriately as a supervisor.
Commissioners said offering him a temporary post would give them time to do a more thorough background check on both Breeden and Humayun while filling an important oversight job that has sat vacant for nine months.
“Offering him the interim isn’t the perfect answer, but it would very well be the best answer. We have a lot of bad options in front of us,” commissioner Scott Richter said.
Community members who attended the meeting said they were relieved to see the commission reach a decision, but many had concerns about whether Breeden would be willing to relocate from Florida for a temporary position.
“You’re asking him to pull up roots for four months on the possibility that he’s going to be hired full time,” Alfredo LLamedo said.
Breeden did not respond to a text message seeking comment after the meeting.
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