Boise starts over in search for ombudsman

A committee discarded two finalists from a monthslong search.

sberg@idahostatesman.comMay 7, 2014 

The city of Boise hopes to have a new community ombudsman hired "within the next three to four months," city spokesman Adam Park said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Dennis Dunne, who worked as an investigator under former ombudsman Pierce Murphy, will continue to oversee the office on an interim basis, Park said.

Following a string of officer-involved shootings and complaints against the Boise Police Department, Murphy took over as the city's first ombudsman in 1999. His job was to independently investigate citizen complaints against city police. His opinions weren't always popular with officers and their supervisors, but Murphy helped rebuild public trust in the department.

In July, Murphy left Boise to take a similar job in the Seattle Police Department, under fire from the U.S. Department of Justice, which announced two years ago that it had cause to believe about 20 percent of officers' uses of force were unconstitutional over the course of several years.

After Murphy left, the city of Boise launched a nationwide search that netted 38 applicants. The city's human resources department conducted an initial review of the applications, Park said, and an interview committee narrowed the list to two candidates. That committee - Mayor Dave Bieter, council members Maryanne Jordan and Elaine Clegg, Bieter's chief of staff Jade Riley, Deputy Police Chief Bill Bones, interim city attorney Steve Rutherford and human resources director Shawn Miller - chose not to offer the job to either finalist, Park said.

Sven Berg: 377-6275

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