RICHLAND -- A veteran law enforcement officer who grew up in Yakima is returning to Eastern Washington to lead the Richland Police Department.
Chris Skinner, deputy chief of the Hillsboro Police Department in Oregon, was selected from a pool of 41 candidates to be the new Richland police chief.
"Chris will bring an exceptional combination of administrative excellence and police experience to both my executive leadership team and the Richland Police Department," said Richland City Manager Cindy Johnson when making the announcement. "He has the leadership skills to guide RPD to the next level, to build on the success that is has achieved. Chris also is very community-grounded and will integrate into the Tri-Cities community."
Skinner, 44, has worked for Hillsboro police for 10 years, including the past three as deputy chief. He also spent 10 years at the Benton County Sheriff's Office in Oregon.
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He graduated from Eisenhower High School in Yakima and has family living in Yakima, he told the Herald in March. One of the things that drew him to apply to the post is that it would be a sort of homecoming for him, he said at the time.
He also touted the community's stability and strength, and its support of police as reasons for wanting to be Richland's next top cop.
Skinner will start May 31. His annual salary will be $117,000.
The search for a new chief began after former Richland Police Chief Tony Corsi retired in January. Waldron & Co., a Seattle-based consulting firm, was hired to conduct the search. Capt. Mike Cobb has served as interim chief.
Johnson said it was a long process, but "one of the best I've been a part of." The city had an "excellent" pool of candidates from which to choose, and Johnson said she got involved once the list was whittled to 17.
The city interviewed those candidates by teleconference, narrowed the field to six and had five candidates in at the end of March for a two-day interview process. The sixth candidate withdrew before the interviews.
The candidates had a chance to meet with community members during a reception and participated in assessment centers that tested them on simulated situations. Johnson said she got a good sense of what people were looking for in the next chief through that processes.
After three finalists were selected, Johnson traveled to their homes to talk to co-workers and community members.
Johnson said she met with the Hillsboro mayor, police chief, officers who reported to Skinner and people in the community, and found that Skinner "truly is who he says he is."
"I believe his demeanor, his honesty and his integrity will absolutely be a big part of who we are as an executive leadership group," Johnson said.
She said she is looking forward to seeing what Skinner does in his first 90 days.
Skinner has a master's degree in business administration from George Fox University School of Business and a bachelor's degree in law enforcement and psychology from Western Oregon University. He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Skinner described himself as "a transformational leader."
"The continued commitment to progressive and innovative policing will be important to Richland's continued success," he said.