The final five Sequim police chief candidates introduced themselves to community members at an informal meet-and-greet on Aug. 5, in the Sequim Transit Center.
Candidates are Lt.Sheri Crain, interim Sequim police chief; Bill Dickinson, investigations supervisor with Washington State Labor and Industries; Lt. Matthew Kosec from Carrollton Police Department in Texas; Lt. Todd Muilenberg from Scottsdale Police Department in Arizona; and Phil Schenck, deputy chief in Sunnyside Police Department.
City staff, police employees and Steve Burkett, Sequim city manager, led interviews Aug. 6.
Burkett said he'd make a decision in about a week on Sequim's next police chief.
The environment was cordial and complimentary as Kosec said there wasn't anyone there who wasn't a good fit for the job.
Crain agreed and said she'd gladly work under any of them if they were chosen instead of her.
Those in attendance included city councilors and staff, political candidates, law enforcement and townspeople.
Question and answers
The Sequim Gazette posed the same questions to all five candidates.
All candidates except Crain found out about the job through the Internet and have been looking for positions like Sequim's opening for at least a year.
Sequim Gazette: What's attractive about the job?
Crain: "I got it in my head that this is something I can do. I like supervising and I like working with staff."
Dickinson: "You can get your arms around a small community and make a difference. You can't do that in the big city."
Kosec: "It's an excellent opportunity. Sequim isn't too big and not too small. Sequim is constantly changing, too. It's a vibrant opportunity."
Muilenberg: "I'm looking for a small town similar to my hometown, New Hartford, N.Y."
Schenck: "I was over here the day the job was announced. I come up here often and I've been waiting for this to happen."
SG: Why Sequim?
Crain: "Nineteen years has gone by very fast. I think I've been given a good opportunity to grow here. I started with five or six of us and it's been a pleasure to work here."
Dickinson: I like the area. I live on a boat and it's a seaside city."
Kosec: "It's in Washington and close to home. I've paid attention to openings up here and it's a good fit."
Muilenberg: "I'm looking for a place to be more hands-on. I want to feel like a police officer and not an administrator. I want that hometown community that I didn't get in Scottsdale."
Schenck: "I grew up coming to this area and I've been trying to get back."
SG: How are you a good fit?
Crain: "I'm a 'we' person and a team person. We build on that here. You don't go anywhere on your own. We've worked hard and gone out of our way to build and make an environment to get police officers to stay here."
Dickinson: "I have a good amount of experience in small towns and have been involved in most aspects of law enforcement. There really isn't anything I can't do and having that background can help in a small town."
Kosec: "Carrollton is a big city looking to be a small town. It's not that big of a jump going from Carrollton to Sequim."
Muilenberg: "With a combination of my experience I have a lot to offer. I have the big-town experience but small-town background and values. The (Sequim) department looks good but it could improve a bit."
Schenck: "I work in a small community now and like being hands-on with staff. I'm the new Army type where you lead them from the front and not push them from the back."
SG: If hired, what would be your first action?
Crain: "Prioritize. We'd position ourselves with a good budget and focus our energy on our priorities."
Dickinson: "Learn. Learn everyone's experience level. Make sure they are doing what you expect and interact with the business community. You have to know what the community expects."
Kosec: "I'd work on preventative methods. Police need to be thinking about prevention aspects rather than waiting on calls."
Muilenberg: "Understand the local culture more and find out from the community and city council what you want me to protect."
Schenck: "Get to know everybody. The police chief needs to know how everything works. I'd then meet officers and let them know they can trust me. Then I'd do an audit of the department and make sure there are no problems."
Crain is acting Sequim chief of police and has served with the department since February 1991. During her tenure she's been a detective, field training officer, patrol sergeant, administrative sergeant and lieutenant.
Dickinson is investigations supervisor with Washington State Labor and Industries and has 39 years of experience in criminal justice. His work experience ranges from small police departments to Washington's largest county sheriff's office where he spent 10 years as the contract chief of police in SeaTac and Burien.
Kosec, a Port Townsend native, moved to Texas for college and eventually joined Carrollton Police Department. He's served as a police officer, field training officer, sergeant and lieutenant. Kosec is a nationally recognized speaker addressing underage drinking.
Muilenberg is a lieutenant in the Scottsdale Police Department in Arizona where he was hired as a patrol officer in 1990. He's held positions as watch commander, school resource unit commander and several other positions.
Schenck has been the deputy police chief in Sunnyside for almost 10 years. In 21 years with the Sunnyside Police Department, he's held positions as patrol officer, police detective, patrol sergeant and deputy chief.
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