Middletown’s Town Hall and Police Department were draped in black Monday, symbols of mourning for former Middletown Police Chief Philip Breeden, 68, who died Saturday of esophageal cancer after being diagnosed about eight months ago.
“Our sincere prayers go out to Lynn and his family.” Middletown Mayor Charles Harbaugh said. “He came along as chief during a difficult time and brought stability to the police department when it really needed it.”
Breeden replaced former Police Chief Roger Ashley in 2005 when Ashley was charged twice, on the same night, with drunken driving.
“He was an old school officer, honest and blunt,” Harbaugh said of Breeden.
Harbaugh thanked him for his 40 plus years in law enforcement, 11 of those with Middletown, as well as for his years of military service.
“Not too many people know that about him,” Harbaugh said.
Breeden in January found himself dismissed for cause by town officials. Officials declined to offer details on the dismissal.
Middletown police detective Steve Goldizen was a friend of Breeden’s for more than 40 years. They grew up in Berryville and knew each other’s families and children. They worked together for 33 years at two different sheriff’s offices and for Middletown police.
Breeden was an honest and dedicated police officer, Goldizen said.
“Breeden would give me his input to help solve cases in all the departments we worked at, as well as input on a personal level. I learned a lot through the years working with him,” Goldizen said. “He always told me when I would get excited about a case or something he said ‘Walk slowly and drink plenty of ice water,’”
Breeden will be missed, he said.
Christina Smith, Middletown municipal clerk, recalled a man she knew she could count on and whom she called her friend.
“He was a great man who loved what he did. Helping others was his calling and it was something he enjoyed. He was a problem solver. Someone that would always listen,” Smith said. “He was an exceptional man and law enforcement officer. He will be sorely missed by many, especially those that came to know him like I had the opportunity to do. He was a true friend that I loved dearly.”
Her heart, as well as many others, aches with the loss of Breeden, she said.