Former Kelso officer picked as Woodland police chief

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Woodland Mayor Grover Laseke has extended a job offer to Vern Thompson to be the city’s new police chief.

Thompson has 32 years of law enforcement experience, 28 of which were spent in various roles with the Kelso Police Department. For the past three years, he’s been the chief of police in Eagle Point, Ore.

Thompson will replace Interim Chief Brad Gillaspie, who recently took over when Rob Stephenson retired after more than three decades in the position. The transition kicked off a seven-month hiring process that began with 21 nationwide candidates.

The offer is contingent upon approval from the city council, which will take up the appointment at its Monday night meeting. Thompson is slated to make $92,700 in his first year on the job, according to his employment contract.