Welcome to Washington: All five finalists in Bainbridge Island's search for a new police chief are from out of state.
City Manager Doug Schulze said Friday the candidates, all men, are law enforcement veterans with command-level experience that ranges from 17 to 37 years.
City officials have not yet publicly named the five finalists.
The names of the candidates have also been tightly held at city hall, and Bainbridge employees will find out the names of the finalists when everyone else does Friday afternoon.
Schulze said that not every candidate has served as a police chief.
Bainbridge has been without a police chief since September, after Jon Felhman's resignation as the city's top cop. The Bainbridge Island Police Department has been led since then by Larry Dickerson, a former police chief from Lacey who took over as interim public safety director in July.
Islanders will get to meet the five finalists at a public reception next week at city hall. The reception is 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 4, in council chambers.
Schulze said the finalists are expected to arrive on Bainbridge Thursday afternoon. A meet-and-greet is planned at the police department at 4:30 p.m.
The following morning, on Friday, April 5, the candidates will be given a tour of the island by Kitsap Tours.
"Then they start right in at 10 o'clock with interviews," Schulze said.
The candidates will be interviewed by four separate panels.
There will be a law enforcement panel made up of representatives from the Poulsbo and Suquamish police departments, the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office, Dickerson from the Bainbridge Island Police Department, and a police chief from Schulze's previous job in Normandy Park.
The second panel is made up of department managers at Bainbridge Island City Hall, and also includes Bainbridge's municipal judge.
The third panel will include representatives from other governmental agencies in the region, including the Bainbridge Island School District, the Bainbridge parks district, and Kitsap Mental Health.
A citizens panel of five or so Bainbridge residents will also interview the finalists.
Schulze said the panels will ask questions and note the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.
"They won't be ranking or rating the candidates in any other way than that," he said.
Schulze will also interview the finalists individually.
The city council will not participate in the interviews, and will meet the candidates instead at the public reception at city hall Thursday evening.
The decision on the next police chief will be Schulze's to make. The new hire does not require the confirmation of the city council.
Schulze said he hopes to make his decision before the end of next week.
"But obviously, I won't know for sure if I will be in a position to make that decision until after the interviews. My goal would be to identify the one candidate that seems to be the best fit for this community," Schulze said.
Schulze said he hopes the new chief can start work by May 15, or possibly as early as May 1.