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Council hires PO's first black police officer

Lawbreakers beware — Port Orchard has a new police officer.

The Port Orchard City Council voted unanimously Monday night to allow Mayor Kim Abel to sign a temporary officer employment agreement with Officer Marvin J. McKinney, who Police Chief Al Townsend reported is the city's first black police officer.

McKinney, 40, comes to Port Orchard from the Hermiston Police Department in Hermiston, Ore. He already seems to fit in with his fellow officers, laughing and making jokes inside police headquarters on Thursday.

“(Port Orchard) seems like a good place to be right now,” said McKinney, who has family currently living in Tacoma. McKinney described the Port Orchard police force as “efficient and well-organized,” but jokingly added it won't be long before he replaces Townsend as chief of police.

Originally from Portland, McKinney attended Clackamas Community College after high school.

After spending eight years in the U.S. Air Force, he became a police officer in 1995, working in Lake Oswego, Ore. McKinney joined the Federal Way force in 1997 and then moved to Hermiston in June of 2003.

He's now been an officer over eight years, working as a patrol officer, a School Resource Officer (SRO), a defense tactics instructor and on SWAT teams.

As far as being named Port Orchard’s first black officer, McKinney is nonchalant.

“It really doesn't have any bearing,” McKinney said.

Townsend said McKinney was hired after a one-year position opened on the force.

"We advertised for the position," Townsend said. "It was pretty well-advertised."

McKinney was chosen to be a temporary officer from a pool of “somewhere in the seven range,” Townsend said.

Townsend said that after “oral board interviews,” an officer is chosen for employment, but must have a full-background check, a medical and psychological exam and a polygraph test before the employment is official.

McKinney participated in his oral interview on Aug. 30.

“We picked him within a couple weeks after that,” Townsend said. “It was a month-long deal. We actually moved fairly quickly with him.”

McKinney said he is looking forward to his time in Port Orchard, but the police chief in Hermiston, whom McKinney befriended when they both worked for the Federal Way force, said he is sad to see him go.

“I was sorry to see him leave,” said Hermiston's Police Chief Daniel Coulombe. “I’ve known Marvin from some time. He’s a great officer; (the Port Orchard Police Department’s) lucky to get him.”

“Marvin's got great skills,” Townsend said. “It’s my hope that there will be an opportunity for him to stay here.”

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