Townsend up for Poulsbo police chief

Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend - Photo courtesy of City of Port Orchard
Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend
— image credit: Photo courtesy of City of Port Orchard

Port Orchard Police Chief Alan Townsend is a candidate for the job of Poulsbo’s top cop.

Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson announced Feb. 5 that Townsend is a “top candidate” and that the recruitment process had been extended.

Townsend has been chief of police since 1999. Prior to that, he was with the Lincoln Police Department in Nebraska, where he began his career in law enforcement, for almost 10 years. Townsend has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska, a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Boston University, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Townsend, who lives near Bangor, said during an interview Feb. 5 that he was participating in Poulsbo’s selection process for a new police chief.

“I was really impressed with City Hall, the people and how it operates,” Townsend said. “There was an opportunity there and I decided to give it a try. It would be a new challenge for me.”

On the day of the announcement,Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes issued a statement.

“Chief Alan Townsend is well respected in our community,” stated Matthes. “I have had a great working relationship these past 12 months with him. I am very impressed with his professionalism and dedication to our police department. I am not surprised that he is on the short list of qualified candidates for Poulsbo police chief.”

Matthes said the City is interested to see what decisions will be made by the City of Poulsbo and Townsend.

Townsend’s salary is $123,203 a year and $48,337 in benefits.

Townsend, 47, had surgery in 2011 for colon cancer. Since then, he said, there has been no sign of the disease during checkups conducted every six months.

Erickson said Townsend’s candidacy is “something that arose” last week.

She said he’s gone through the same process and met the same criteria as the other candidates. He applied for the job through The Prothman Company, the recruitment firm retained by the city. He was interviewed by the panel on Feb. 5.

Townsend’s candidacy was announced six days after a public reception for five other candidates who survived the whittling of an application pool of more than 30.

Those candidates — Robert Griffiths of Cordova, Alaska, Stephen MacKinnon of Santa Paula, Calif., Stephen Mauer of the Lakewood Police Department, Julius “Phil” Schenck of Sunnyside, and C. Stephen Sutton of Gig Harbor — had been interviewed by three panels of department heads, City Council members, residents and law enforcement officers, met the public in a City Hall reception Jan. 30, and had one-on-one interviews with the mayor Jan. 31.

The new chief will succeed Dennis Swiney, who retired Jan. 15. He was paid $112,823 a year.

Deputy Chief Robert Wright is acting chief. The department is budgeted for 10 officers, three sergeants, one detective, one deputy chief, one chief, and three clerks.

North Kitsap Herald Editor Richard Walker contributed to the story.


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