Public can interview four finalists for police chief

"City Manager David Moseley's four police chief finalists include two people he's worked with before, one while city manager of Ellensburg and one while here.The four candidates are:* Brian Wilson, who has been a Federal Way public safety deputy director since the police department was formed; * Bill Cooper, Bainbridge Island's police chief since 1998; * Anne Kirkpatrick, Ellensburg's police chief since 1996; * David Stern, a Santa Maria, Calif., police commander since 1993.Moseley, who announced his finalists for the public safety director job Tuesday, says he has worked with and respects both Wilson and Kirkpatrick, but they don't have an advantage in the hiring process.No one has an inside edge on this position, Moseley said. All four are very strong candidates. I didn't specifically recruit anybody for the position. At the same time, I'm not going to eliminate anybody because I've worked with them before.The four finalists will be in Federal Way Dec. 6-8, when they will be interviewed by Moseley and meet citizens, City Council members, police department employees and city department heads in a series of forums. The new chief likely will begin work in January.Former police chief Ron Wood, who was the first police department employee to be hired in 1995, resigned in July after talks with Moseley. Neither Moseley nor Wood would disclose the reason.All four finalists possess a wide range of experience, including community policing. The department was created with a community policing philosophy, and Moseley has said he wants a new police chief who will embrace that philosophy.Earlier this month, the city mailed questionnaires to the 20 semi-finalists narrowed from the original 72 applicants. One question asked about community policing. Another one asked about techniques for getting police departments involved in the community. All four had strong responses there, Moseley said.The fact that three of the finalists are from Washington and one is from California is no coincidence. Although the search was national, the city made special efforts to attract applicants from Washington, Oregon and California who might more warmly embrace the community policing philosophy.I feel like there's a governance culture in the Northwest particularly heavily oriented toward citizen participation, Moseley said. There's a great deal of community input and involvement in government decision-making.The finalistsHere's a thumbnail sketch of the four finalists:* Before taking the job as police chief on Bainbridge Island, Bill Cooper, 49, served as a police commander in Tumwater from 1995-98; a program manager for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission in Olympia from 1990-95; and a police officer in Bellevue and Redmond from 1973-90.Cooper was out of the office at a meeting and unavailable for comment on Tuesday.* Before going to Ellensburg, Anne Kirkpatrick, whose age was unavailable, served as director of the Criminal Justice Program at Green River Community College in Auburn from 1995-96; and as a police officer or police sergeant in Redmond and Memphis, Tenn., from 1982-95. While with the Redmond Police Department, Kirkpatrick served as an instructor at the Washington State Police Academy from 1990-95.Kirkland is attending training in Virginia and was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.* Before achieving the rank of commander, David Stern, 54, served as an officer, sergeant and lieutenant in Santa Maria, Calif., from 1981-93; as an officer and sergeant in Costa Mesa, Calif., from 1968-1977; and as a reserve police officer in San Clemente, Calif., from 1967-68. He has experience as a criminal investigator for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office in California.Stern says he offers more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, solid decision-making and the ability to bring people together. The Santa Maria Police Department has been doing community policing for the last seven years. He said he's seen for himself the advantages of such a philosophy, especially as the community supported the police through a few officer-involved shootings over the last couple years.The community support we developed served us well, Stern said. Those make a believer of you. * Before coming to Federal Way, Brian Wilson, 42, served with the Renton Police Department from 1980-96, where he worked his way up the ranks from officer to commander.After playing a major role in the Federal Way department's development, Wilson says the opportunity to lead the agency into the future is very appealing. His familiarity with the department's programs, philosophy and personnel would be a boon to the city, he said.I have a passion for law enforcement and human services, Wilson said. I have a lot of energy, a vision for the future. It's a great group of people, great personnel. I want to be able to meet the needs of those personnel as well as the department and the city and the community.-------------What's next?The four finalists - Bill Cooper of Bainbridge Island, Anne Kirkpatrick of Ellensburg, David Stern of Santa Maria, Calif., and Brian Wilson of Federal Way - will be here Dec. 6-8 to participate in an interview process involving City Council members, city department heads, Department of Public Safety employees and citizens. The public is invited to an informal public reception to meet the finalists at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6, in Council Chambers at City Hall, 33530 First Way S. A public forum will follow at 7 p.m. Citizens can ask the finalists questions at the forum.City Manager David Moseley will make the final selection based on input from interview panelists and his own one-on-one interviews with each finalist. The new public safety director will likely begin work in January. "

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