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Inslee says he’ll announce pick for WSP chief in coming days

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on Jan. 10, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
January 10, 2013 3:57 pm

Gov.-elect Jay Inslee said this morning he will have an announcement on the Washington State Patrol chief in the next few days.

Inslee’s remarks at The Associated Press legislative forum came as the patrol’s troopers union went public last week with their effort to replace John Batiste, who has led the State Patrol during outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s entire eight-year tenure.

The union has informed Batiste several weeks ago that the union would not support his staying in the job after Inslee took office. It criticized Batiste for being out of touch and not listening to the concerns of the union’s membership, which consists of about 1,000 state troopers and sergeants.

The troopers union has endorsed Lakewood police chief Bret Farrar to take Batiste’s place.

Farrar said Thursday he has not heard from any one on Inslee’s transition team.

“I haven’t heard a word,” he said.

Meanwhile, the union representing State Patrol lieutenants and captains, the agency’s middle and upper management, said it would remain silent.

“Our board has talked and we’ve decided it’s in our best interest right now to remain neutral in this whole thing, and we’re going to ride it out and see what Inslee does,” the union’s president, Lt. Dave Scherf, told The News Tribune.

The association representing the state’s 39 elected sheriff’s is taking a firm stance, however.

“Chief Batiste has earned the trust and respect of Washington Sheriffs and we ask that you give due consideration to retaining him to lead the Washington State Patrol,” the association’s president, Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury, wrote Inslee in a Dec. 24 letter.

Batiste, through a spokesman, has declined to say whether he has asked Inslee to reappoint him. Nor would he comment on his management of the agency or his interactions with the union.

You’re invited to follow Christian Hill on Twitter @TNTchill

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