Condon: Stephens won't be considered for Spokane Police Chief

SPOKANE, Wash. - Mayor David Condon announced Friday he is re-launching his search for a new Spokane Police Chief, and interim Police Chief Scott Stephens isn't being considered as a candidate.

Chief Stephens has been at the post since January 3 following the departure of Anne Kirkpatrick. His placement as interim chief was announced by Condon at the Neva-Wood Police Substation, where the mayor called Stephens,"the right choice to lead the department today."

Condon finished his thought during a Friday morning press conference by saying Stephens won't be the right person to lead the police department tomorrow.

During his press conference Condon listed four key qualifications that he wants to see in the city's new police chief:

• A solid understanding of metro policing models.
• Experience in implementing cutting-edge policing techniques and approaches.
• The ability to be comfortable in the public eye.
• A desire to integrate him or herself into the Spokane community.

condon stephens won't be chief

Mayor Condon said he and Stephens have had many conversations about the position and that both came to the understanding that Stephens would not apply for the job.

When asked if it was Condon's or Stephens's choice to not apply for the job, the mayor would not directly answer the question but did say that Stephens does not meet at least one of his qualifications on the list.

"The city needs to have someone with an integral knowledge of metro policing models and he's been in our force for a long time and we haven't done that here," Condon said.

What Stephens has done in his 26 years on the force, however, was to head up nearly every aspect of the department including the SWAT team, patrol and investigative units.

Stephens was not at work Friday, but Spokane Police spokesperson Jennifer DeRuwe said the department was surprised to hear Condon would say Stephens is not qualified.

In addition to not considering Stephens for the job, Condon says he will not consider any internal candidate. Instead, he will go on a nationwide search for Spokane's new police chief and even hinted that he's open to luring a chief currently serving another city.

"We are in a good position to attract top talent," Condon said.

The deadline for applications for the police chief job is June 30 and Condon said he will appoint the new police chief by August.

A detailed selection process with a number of interview panels is being developed, according to the city.