POPD gains new officer, commander

A new officer and a newly appointed commander joined the ranks of the Port Orchard Police Department this month, providing Chief Al Townsend with administrative support he said has needed for some time.

“I’ve been spread pretty thin, but more importantly, my sergeants have been, as well,” Townsend said, explaining that promoting Sgt. Mark Duncan to commander — effective Monday — will allow the three remaining sergeants to spend more time on patrol and supervising other officers.

In his letter to city officials announcing his choice of Duncan for the position, Townsend wrote that Duncan “has a proven track record of leadership within the department, and is well-respected both inside the department and in the community.”

Duncan assumed the chief’s duties last summer when Townsend completed a training program at the FBI Academy in Virginia, and did “a tremendous job managing the department in my absence and has proven himself to me,” Townsend wrote.

Mayor Kim Abel said the creation of the commander position was approved by the City Council during last year’s budget process.

“The fact that a commander would take some of the current sergeants’ duties, allowing them to spend more time out on the streets, was the selling point for the council,” Abel said. “(It) determined the cost of adding the commander was worth it.”

Duncan said the actual cost of creating the position was largely used for the selection process, and the technical change in his salary was “minimal.”

In addition to being the first point of contact for the community and other department employees, Duncan said he will be assuming other administrative duties, such as creating the monthly and annual reports, maintaining the department’s budget, along with unit inspections and supply ordering.

“Port Orchard has been growing for some time,” Duncan said, “but during that time (our department) has not made any administrative changes. This move is a reflection of our need to do that, which we’ve been working toward for a long time.”

In addition to Duncan’s promotion, Townsend also hired a new officer this month, filling one of two positions vacated last fall when officers Stan James and Jon Meador moved to Tacoma and Bremerton, respectively.

The new POPD officer is Jimmie Foster, who recently retired from the Washington State Patrol after 26 years of service. Townsend said Foster is very familiar with the area, and has been a South Kitsap resident for at least the past several years.

Townsend said the remaining officer position is still open.

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