Two of the three recently announced finalists for the open Bainbridge Island police chief position have already given notice at their previous departments or are publicly known to have been actively seeking a new job, according to news reports.
Bainbridge Island city officials announced Tuesday the three finalists for police chief. One candidate is from Washington, while the other two finalists are from Virginia and California.
Community members are being invited to meet the finalists at a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 at City Hall.
The first finalist, Joseph “Joe” Clark, is currently deputy police chief of the Norfolk Police Department in Norfolk, Virginia.
Bainbridge officials said Clark has more than 33 years of law enforcement experience and has worked for the Norfolk Police Department since 1986. He became deputy chief in Norfolk in 2017.
In February 2018 it was reported by Wavy.com’s Taylor O’Bier that Clark was one of the five final candidates for the police chief position in Charleston, South Carolina.
O’Bier wrote at the time, “Clark has been with the Norfolk Police Department since 1986 and has been in his current position for a little more than a year.
“From 2012 to 2017, Clark was assistant chief of the Investigative Services Bureau, according to the post on Charleston’s website,” the article added. “He has held the ranks of patrol officer, investigator, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, and deputy chief.”
According to Bainbridge city officials, Clark has a master’s degree in education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
The city of Norfolk did not immediately respond to a request from the Review for Clark’s current salary.
The second finalist is Carl Nielsen, currently police chief for Centralia, Washington.
Nielsen has more than 34 years of law enforcement experience and has been the police chief in Centralia since 2015. He previously served as a captain and a lieutenant in the Turlock Police Department in Turlock, California from 2007 to 2015. He has a master’s degree in emergency services administration and a bachelor’s degree in emergency services administration/vocational studies from California State University Long Beach in Long Beach, California. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
The city of Centralia did not immediately respond to a request for Nielsen’s current salary.
The final finalist is David “Dave” Westrick, the police chief of Hollister, California.
On Nov. 1, it was reported by San Benito Live that Westrick had already announced his imminent departure, at the end of the year, from the Hollister department, despite having a contract that goes through Nov. 19, 2021.
He reportedly made the announcement via social media, saying, “It’s just a personal decision. You want to leave while you’re happy and you’re content.”
His salary in Hollister is $167,000 a year.
Westrick has more than 28 years of law enforcement experience, according to Bainbridge city officials, and has been with the Hollister Police Department in since 2003.
He became the city’s police chief in 2013. Westrick has a bachelor’s degree in public safety management from Union I&U in Sacramento, California, and he is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
“I’m excited to have such a strong slate of finalists for the city to consider as our next police chief,” said City Manager Morgan Smith.
“This is a critical position within the organization, and it’s important that we select a Chief who can continue to build on the positive connections that exist between our community and its police department,” Smith added.
A community reception with the candidates is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 at city hall.
The new police chief will take over the Bainbridge department from Interim Chief Jeff Horn.
Horn has been interim chief since the departure of former chief Matthew Hamner, who is now police chief in Banning, California.
City officials said its headhunter firm reviewed 35 applicants for the Bainbridge position.
Bainbridge hopes to have the hiring process completed by the end of the December.