West Richland is looking for a new police chief.
Former Chief Brian McElroy left the department in September to seek new opportunities and challenges, according to the city. He joined in June 2010 when the department faced staffing and structure issues.
The job description for his replacement was put online this week. West Richland’s police chief reports directly to the mayor and helps direct patrol, emergency management and investigations.
City officials prefer that their next chief have knowledge of Washington state laws and codes, but will accept any applicants meeting their requirements, said West Richland Mayor Brent Gerry. He said the city hopes to hire someone by Jan. 1, 2017.
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The department covers an area of 22 square miles with 19 officers including a chief, a captain, two detectives, four staff sergeants and 11 officers.
As chief, McElroy helped the department improve resources, hire staff and increase professionalism, said Capt. Ben Majetich, who serves as interim chief until the search ends.
“When he got here, the whole structure of the department was different,” Majetich said.
Majetich said he expressed interest in the chief position. He joined West Richland police in July 2014 after serving as a Pasco police officer for more than 26 years.
“I’m looking forward to having the administrative positions up here filled, because you definitely need a chief and a captain,” Majetich said.
Staff changes for West Richland police came after voters approved a new public safety tax in 2014, which helped pay for new officers. Before the tax, they only had one staff sergeant.
“That allowed us to bring on three additional positions to the police department,” said Jessica Platt, the city’s finance director.
West Richland police have a two-year budget of about $6.5 million, according to their first quarter report from 2015.
Applications for the position close at 5 p.m. Nov. 7.