Search starts for new Bainbridge Island police chief

The city of Bainbridge Island kicked off its search for a new police chief Wednesday.

City officials issued a "request for proposals" from executive search firms that could find candidates for the police chief position.

City Manager Doug Schulze said responses from interested search firms will be due Dec. 21.

"I anticipate that hopefully somewhere around the first couple of weeks of January we will have a decision made on a search firm and be underway in terms of a contract and getting the search firm on board, and moving toward the actual search," Schulze said.

The city has been without a police chief since the departure of Jon Felhman on Sept. 15.

Fehlman, who was hired by Bainbridge Island as deputy chief in 2008 and became chief the following year after then-chief Matt Haney left the department, stepped down from his position after the close of an investigation into alleged misdeeds by the city's police union. An outside investigator largely cleared Fehlman of the allegations, and Fehlman left the department in good standing.

Larry Dickerson, a retired police chief from Lacey, has been serving as the city's interim public safety director.

The selection of a search firm to find a new chief will not go before the city council for approval.

Schulze said he anticipates the contract will not exceed his expenditure authority, and therefore could be handled administratively and would not require the council's approval.

According to the request for proposals, the search firm will create a detailed recruitment brochure; conduct a search using targeted mailings, selected advertising, networking and direct inquiries; help the city manager screen the initial pool of applicants and come up with semi-finalists; narrow the semi-finalist group to finalist candidates; conduct in-depth interviews, detailed background investigations and verify the references and credentials of finalists; and prepare a detailed report on each finalist.

The search firm is also expected to help the city manager with candidate interviews, which will include city council members, city staff, city unions, community leaders and residents.

The city expects to complete the search by March 31.

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