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New University Place police chief selected

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on Aug. 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm with 4 Comments »
August 31, 2012 5:48 pm

After a lengthy search, University Place has a new police chief.

The city announced Friday that Sgt. Mike Blair had been selected as the city’s top police officer. Blair has been filling in as interim chief since the departure of former chief Rusty Wilder in January.

Newly appointed University Place Police Chief Mike Blair

Blair’s first day as chief is Monday. He was named law enforcement officer of the year at the sheriff’s office in 2010.

“I am looking forward to the continued partnership with the city and sheriff’s department over the next decade to continue to provide high-level professionalism and quality response to crime in the city of University Place,” Blair said in the statement announcing his hiring.

The city contracts with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department Office for police services, and its chief is selected from internal candidates. Sheriff Paul Pastor made the selection Friday in consultation with University Place City Manager Steve Sugg. This year, the city will pay the sheriff’s office more than $3.2 million under the contract.

The city had sought a larger pool of candidates and bigger role in selecting its police chief this time around. Pastor agreed to expand the pool to includes sergeants; previously, it was limited to officers with ranks of lieutenant and above.

A panel of city employees and sheriff’s department representatives reviewed the applications of the nine applications and whittled down the number to five.

Last week, another panel of city employees and sheriff’s department representatives interviewed the five remaining panelists and recommended three finalists. The city held a community meet-and-greet with the finalists on Aug. 23. The two other finalists were Lt. Jerry Lawrence and Bill Cassio, who manages contracts for the sheriff’s department.

Blair will earn $164,000 a year in base salary.

Police chiefs in University Place typically serve a term of two years

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Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. momoftoo says:

    Great person. Well done University Place. :)

  2. davidcouper says:

    Congratulations to your new police chief. You can help him out by asking him to review and affirm the 12 qualities necessary for police in our society to hold and practice at: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/policing-our-nation.html. Also visit my blog on police improvement at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com. (Those qualities are: Accountable, Collaborative, Educated and trained, Effective and preventive, Honest, Model citizen, Peacekeeper and protector, Representative, Respectful, Restrained, Servant leader, and Unbiased.) There also is a new book out that may be helpful in thinking about ways in which police can improve by someone who did it: “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” (Amazon.com).

  3. The no snitch ‘policy’ has worked in WA State. I really doubt
    that crime is down. If police were directly interacting with
    the citizens instead of sitting in cars and behind cell phones
    this wouldn’t have happened. We’re found ever better ways to isolate
    our officers instead of hiring more of them. Can you tell a lie
    over Twitter?

  4. Frankly123 says:

    Congrats. Having said that, it takes a moment for the idea of a Sergeant being promoted directly to Police Chief to sink in. Seems somewhat of a ‘leap frog’ step. Isn’t it traditional that General, Commander and Chief ranks are achieved by someone who has gone THROUGH the the various officer ranks? I thought that was sort of desired to ensure a potential Chief acquired a working knowledge at all levels? How does such a promotion sit with lieutenants and captains when a Sergeant, below them, now becomes the Chief? Psychologically, personnel wise, there must be a tiny amount of disconcertment in the back of a few minds. I’m sure they overcome it and settle in just fine, but traditionally speaking, from a civilian perspective, it seems like an odd leap. Please don’t take this as slighting Chief Blairs ability, mine is a procedural observation, not a personal one.

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