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Five candidates vying for Vancouver police chief

Three community Q&A sessions scheduled this week

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
5 Photos
Joel Fitzgerald, Chief of Police for the City of Waterloo in Waterloo, Iowa.
Joel Fitzgerald, Chief of Police for the City of Waterloo in Waterloo, Iowa. (Photo contributed by the Vancouver Fire Department) Photo Gallery

Vancouver’s nationwide search for its next police chief has concluded, and now five candidates are set to be interviewed this week for the lead role.

With Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain anticipated to retire June 30, the city is making strides to complete the process with the public’s input.

“By including leaders from a range of organizations and communities, we will be able to hear voices and perspectives that have not previously been a part of our hiring process,” City Manager Eric Holmes said in a press release Monday.

Three of the finalists are assistant police chiefs at the Vancouver Police Department: Michael Lester, Jeffrey Mori and Troy Price. The remaining two are Joel Fitzgerald, the police chief in Waterloo, Iowa, and Andrew Neiman, a captain at the Los Angeles Police Department.

  • Fitzgerald has 30 years of law enforcement experience. He’s previously served as the police chief in Fort Worth, Texas, Allentown, Pa., and Missouri City, Texas. He holds a doctorate in business administration, a master’s degree in executive management and a bachelor’s degree in sociology.
  • Lester has 33 years of law enforcement experience and has been with the Vancouver Police Department since 1992; he previously worked for the La Grande, Ore., Police Department. He holds a master’s degree in public administration and science in criminal justice, as well as a bachelor’s degree in management.
  • Mori has 29 years of law enforcement experience. Before joining the Vancouver Police Department, he worked for the Washington County, Ore., Sheriff’s Office. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health and human performance.
  • Neiman has more than 35 years of law enforcement experience. With the Los Angeles Police Department, he has also worked as a patrol officer, drug abuse instructor, vice investigator, sergeant and lieutenant. He holds a master’s degree in dispute resolution and a bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders.
  • Price has more than 27 years of law enforcement experience and has been with the Vancouver Police Department since 1997. He was previously a police officer with the Chicago Housing Authority. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Complete bios outlining the candidates’ professional experience can be found on the city’s police chief recruitment webpage.

The law enforcement officials were selected from a national search in collaboration with firm Bob Murray and Associates. Prior to the search, community members submitted what they considered essential qualities for someone in the position, which were used during the process.

Candidates are expected to share their views on the direction of Vancouver’s public safety in three community Q&A sessions Tuesday through Thursday. They will also answer questions submitted by community members through Be Heard Vancouver. Participants can also submit questions at the events.

Event tickets for the Q&A sessions Tuesday and Wednesday can be secured through cityofvancouver.us/events. Thursday’s session is by invitation only due to the venue’s limited space.

  • 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Bates Center for Educational Leadership, 2921 Falk Road (Spanish and Russian interpretation available).
  • 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday at C-Tran Administrative Building, 10600 N.E. 51st Circle (will be broadcast on CV/TV Channel 23; American Sign Language interpretation available).
  • 8:30-10 a.m. Thursday at Ripple Space, 275 W. Third St., Ste. 400 (Spanish and Russian interpretation available).

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