At a special meeting held May 2, Westport City Council members unanimously approved immediate advertising within Washington State for the position of police chief.
Current Chief Bill Gibson is retiring effective July 4, after 27 years on the job.
The new police chief will lead and administer a department that employs a chief, one lieutenant, five officers and two clerks, with a current-year Police Department budget of $892,000.
The city is offering a salary of between $66,000 and $78,000 annually depending on qualifications and experience, plus what is described as an “Excellent Benefit Package.”
aDDITIONAL Experience and training
In addition to standard requirement for any policing position, the new chief will be required to have the following:
• Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, police administration, business administration, or related field. Master’s degree is desirable.
• Four years of police management experience with rank of Sergeant or higher.
• Advanced training in police management theory and practice
In addition, the posting states that, “Any combination of experience and training that provided the applicant with the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the job will be considered.”
All applicants are expected to submit a detailed cover letter describing personal experience, leadership style and why he/she is interested in the position; a resume and responses to four supplemental questions discussing the following:
• The role of crime prevention on policing strategy
• An explanation of the candidate’s communication style
• Plans for community engagement
• Experience developing Community Crime Block Watch or Volunteer Citizen Patrol programs
The position listing also notes that candidates who have been separated from commissioned law enforcement activities for more than five years will not be considered.
The position posting will close May 30. Following the listing closure, the city council will conduct its first review of applications on June 2, to reduce the applicant pool to a small number of finalists.
Finalists will then be subject to a complete background investigation including polygraph, psychological assessment and medical examination and personal interviews.
No hiring date set
There is no set date for filling the position, but the mayor and council have expressed the desire to have a new police chief on board by early July to coincide with Chief Gibson’s departure.