Candidates for Lake Forest Park Police Chief meet the public

Thursday, February 7, 2013

By Diane Hettrick

After a day of interviews, the five candidates for Lake Forest Park Police Chief met the public at a reception at City Hall.

Candidates briefly introduced themselves, then mingled with the crowd and answered questions. Citizens were invited to leave written comments about all candidates.

Rod Baker
Rod Baker is the chief of police for Pierce (county) Transit, in charge of policing and emergency management. His wife works in Lynnwood and their daughter is in college. Pierce Transit police were the first transit department in the state and Rod is their first chief. He deals with three counties and multiple jurisdictions. He made his mobile force effective by coordinating and cooperating with neighboring jurisdictions. To deal with budget cuts, he wrote grants to deal with specific issues like gangs.

Lance Davenport
Lance Davenport is the town Marshall of Coupeville on Whidbey Island. Because of a professional association, he knows several people from the committee which recently accredited the LFP department. They told him that Lake Forest Park was the best prepared department they had dealt with and had nothing but praise for department and city. Davenport is interested in taking a high functioning department and bringing it to the next level. He and his wife have two school age children.

Ronald D. Schaub
Ron Schaub is the chief of the Steilacoom police. As the last "public safety" district in the state, his department was in charge of all emergency services - fire as well as police. When he took the job, the department was dysfunctional, with paramedics policing, and police helping with fires. He reorganized, was able to contract out fire services to professionals, and make the police department cohesive. He is ready for another challenge, with new things to learn. He has three children.

William R. Spears
Most of the five candidates were from western Washington, with the exception of Bill Spears, chief of the Willows, California police department. He said that he loves the Northwest. Half of his eight children (three of whom are in law enforcement) have already moved to the area and he wants to join them. The City of Willows is almost the same size as Lake Forest Park, with similar challenges.

Stephen Sutton
Steve Sutton is a captain in the Washington State Patrol, where he has a 25 year career, working both sides of the state. He has worked in almost every department of WSP, including a community policing program in eastern Washington, dealing with Spanish-speaking migrant farm workers. He wrote a grant to fund the program. He travels a lot with his current position and would like a community police force where he could stay and really get to know the community. He and his wife have 16 year old triplets, who all started driving this year.

On Thursday, Mayor Mary Jane Goss and City Manager Pete Rose will select the top two candidates. The top candidate will go through an extensive background check, which is expected to take 2-3 weeks.

As the position is a "mayoral appointment," the Mayor will present her choice to the City Council, for the Council's confirmation.


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