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News / Clark County News

Vancouver Police Department hires two assistant chiefs

They fill key roles in the agency

By Carlos Fuentes, Columbian staff writer
Published: August 16, 2023, 6:06am
2 Photos
(Photos contributed by the Vancouver Police Department)
(Photos contributed by the Vancouver Police Department) Photo Gallery

Earlier this summer, the Vancouver Police Department brought in two assistant chiefs, filling roles that had been vacant for nearly a year.

In the last two months, the department hired Kristine Buist to serve as the assistant chief of the patrol bureau and Erica Nilsen to oversee the administration and investigations bureaus.

“I am very excited to have Assistant Chief Kristine Buist and Assistant Chief Erica Nilsen onboard as the newest members of the VPD Executive Team,” Chief Jeff Mori said in a statement. “They were both selected following two national searches, and each bring a wealth of experience to the job.”

Mori said both Buist and Nilsen bring years of leadership experience from big-city departments.

Buist previously worked at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for 22 years, where she served in several positions, including abuse neglect sergeant, community oriented policing sergeant, vice lieutenant and internal affairs captain.

In Las Vegas, she oversaw investigations related to human trafficking, violent crimes and prevention programs, among others.

“I moved here from the desert, and I love the area and the people I have met,” Buist said in a statement. “(The) Vancouver Police Department and the city have been so welcoming, and I am looking forward to meeting the community.”

Nilsen joined the department after 28 years with the Portland Police Bureau, where she rose through the ranks to commander of the East Precinct. In Portland, she worked in areas including patrol, detective, auto theft task force, internal affairs and the training division.

Nilsen is completing her master’s degree in strategic leadership this month.

“I have lived in Clark County for the last 25 years, and I’m excited to work in the beautiful community I live in,” Nilsen said. “I bring vast experience and strong leadership skills from my time in law enforcement with the Portland Police Bureau. My passions include officer wellness and community engagement.”

Columbian staff writer