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Federal Way police chief is a finalist for job in Spokane

By PHILIP PALERMO

The Mirror

Federal Way Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick is among four finalists for the top job at the Spokane Police Department.

Kirkpatrick is scheduled to take part in a series of public forums in Spokane from July 10-12 as the city determines who its next police chief will be, according to a press release on Spokane’s Web site.

While she was recruited by a firm handling Spokane’s police chief search, Kirkpatrick said she had seen the job opening and was already interested in the position.

Other finalists for the position are:

• Roger Leland Peterson, chief of police at Rochester, Minn.;

• Linda Eschenfelder Pierce, assistant chief for the Seattle Police Department’s

Criminal Investigations Bureau; and

• Bruce Alan Roberts, Spokane’s deputy chief of police.

“I’ve read their resumes and they are awesome,” Kirkpatrick said of her fellow finalists.

If she’s selected for the position, Kirkpatrick said she would bring some of her experiences here on her move across the state.

“I do know that Federal Way, like Spokane, has been facing as a city the systemic problem with the revenue of the city not matching the expenses,” she said.

Federal Way is Kirkpatrick’s fourth police department since 1982, including positions in Memphis, Tenn., and Redmond.

Before signing on as Federal Way’s chief of police in 2001, Kirkpatrick spent four and a half years as the chief in Ellensburg.

Kirkpatrick said the old pattern of working your way up in a single police department, becoming chief and staying for a long period doesn’t happen very often anymore.

“The new trend is a three- to five-year time,” she said. “The chief is more mobile now.”

Since taking over the department in 2001, Kirkpatrick has faced several challenges, including heading a police department that has been viewed as understaffed and overworked.

In 2003, Patrick Maher was shot and killed with his own handgun, the first Federal Way police officer killed in the line of duty.

Two years later, Jason Roberts was sentenced to 30 years for the shooting.

Earlier this year, the department fought against the appeal of former employee Jessica Nelson, who contended her firing in 2005 was without cause. The city contends Nelson was terminated for lying and insubordination.

Kirkpatrick said each time she has moved on to another position in another city, there is a measure of sadness, but no regrets.

“With every move I have made, I can’t say I have regrets,” she said.

“I have pride with each and every agency I have been associated with.”

Whether she gets the Spokane job or not, Kirkpatrick said she’d be honored in either city.

While she awaits their decision, Kirkpatrick said her attention remains here.

“My focus still remains with Federal Way. This is where I’m at. This is all about fit,” she said.

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