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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Logue wins job as permanent police ombudsman

Bart Logue, the police ombudsman, is shown in this 2016 photo. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

In a vote for consistency Tuesday night, Spokane’s police ombudsman commission chose the man who’s been serving as police ombudsman for seven months to continue in the role.

Bart Logue, a former diplomat and Marine Corps provost marshal, the equivalent of a police chief, will work under a three-year contract as permanent ombudsman. His selection ends a 21-month search that began after Tim Burns left the job in January 2015.

Four commissioners voted unanimously to offer Logue the job, though before the vote, commission chair Deb Conklin said she thought the other candidate, former Phoenix police officer Jacquelyn MacConnell, was stronger.

“She’s a person who comes with a lot of creativity and energy and a willingness to think outside the box,” Conklin said.

Logue earned praise from nearly every community member who testified Tuesday, with many saying he’s worked hard to rebuild community relationships and isn’t afraid to push back against the police department.

“It’s wonderful to have new people and new blood, but in this situation it’s imperative that we continue what Bart has started,” said Colleen Gardner.

Spokane NAACP president Phillip Tyler, who served on the selection committee for both the interim and finalist roles, also endorsed Logue.

“We selected him based on all of his attributes and talents and skills that would fit the permanent role,” Tyler said.

Commissioners said they received testimony praising Logue’s compassion and ability to listen. Commissioner Ladd Smith called him a “fantastic communicator who puts people at ease whenever you approach him.”

Logue recently won approval from the police guild allowing other staff in his office to access body camera footage.

Logue was absent during the selection because he was attending a neighborhood council meeting. Earlier in the evening, he said serving as ombudsman has been a “wonderful opportunity” so far, and said he wanted to make Spokane a national model for police oversight.

“I’m very excited about the future of the OPO. I’ll be more excited once I know what the ordinance is going to be,” he said, referring to the ombudsman’s office.

Conklin also praised his performance before the vote.

“You’ve networked well with the community. You’ve gone a great way toward restoring public confidence in the OPO,” she said.

Reached by phone after the vote, Logue said he was excited to move forward.

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said, adding that he appreciated the commission’s comments thanking him for his work before the vote. “It’s been a long bit of time wondering so I’m happy that it’s finished.”

This article has been updated to remove mention of AJ VanderPol, who is no longer a member of the commission.