Washougal to host community reception with four police chief candidates

New police chief candidates will attend a reception at the Black Pearl on the Columbia after a series of interviews with officials 

WASHOUGAL — The city of Washougal will host a community reception with the four candidates for police chief on Tue., Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m. inside the Black Pearl on the Columbia.

Photo Courtesy of the City of Washougal
Photo Courtesy of the City of Washougal

All community members are invited to attend, and there will be time to interact with and hear from each candidate. The event will be informal in nature, and directly follows several interview panels with city officials and community leaders, as well as a reception for police department employees. 

“We have a full full day scheduled for next Tuesday,” said Jeanette Cefalo, the human resources director for Washougal. “They’ll be two panels, interviewing the candidate pool that we have. The goal is to obviously make an offer, hopefully to one of the candidates that we’re interviewing.”

Candidates were sought out after current Washougal Police Chief Ron Mitchell announced his retirement effective November of 2019. Mitchell has served as chief since 2009, and first began working at the agency in 1996.

In the past several years, Mitchell said the agency has been hiring several new officers and placing new sargents. The police department is also moving toward becoming accredited with the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs.  

“Well, you know, we have our own culture here,” Mitchell said. “Trying to find the right fit, not only for the officers here, but for the city as well; for the other department heads that they would be working side by side with. The police department’s really poised to move up to the next level. So someone that could take a look at what we’ve had, and what we’ve been doing, where we’ve come from, where we’re at right now, and then move to the next level.”

The city says the new chief is expected to start work in the beginning of December, and will be announced by the city manager, David Scott. The four candidates for the position will be announced at the start of next week.

Each candidate will be given about two minutes to speak at each of the receptions, and then will answer questions naturally during the meet-and-greet portion to follow.

“There’s a lot of projects that we’re working on,” Mitchell said. “It’s been my goal to hand this off to somebody else, that the department’s in better shape than what I found it, and that’s what we’re working towards.”  

Community comments will be welcomed at the event, and a means by which to submit feedback and opinions of each candidate will be available at the event. 

“I just hope that we get the outreach and encourage the community to come out and visit the candidates is a great opportunity,” said Cefalo. “It’s a very important and critical position for us that we’re looking to fill, and a big pieces of our community, interfacing with the citizens. So I just encourage people to come out.”

The Black Pearl on the Columbia is located near the Port of Camas-Washougal offices at 56 S. First St., Washougal.        

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