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Mayor: Former deputy chief knew sergeant position was temporary

POULSBO — Former Deputy Chief Wendy Davis voluntarily resigned and took a sergeant's position temporarily following an off-duty injury, according to an agreement between Davis and the City of Poulsbo.

Davis stepped down Oct. 31 and Sgt. Robert Wright, a 22-year veteran of the department and an earlier candidate for its No. 2 position, became deputy chief on Nov. 1.

Davis became deputy chief Nov. 2, 2011. She previously was a sergeant with the Bremerton Police Department.

The agreement states Davis will work as a sergeant on a provisional basis for no more than six months. Mayor Becky Erickson said she asked Davis to stay on to keep stability and continuity among the department, and the city had prior approval by the union for the shift in positions; usually, the sergeant position would be filled from within the ranks after testing.

The agreement also states Davis can apply for the sergeant position. "She could potentially apply for the sergeant position if we don’t have any viable candidates," Erickson said.

The agreement describes an injury sustained off-duty rendering Davis "unable to perform all the duties of a regular police officer." On Oct. 27, Davis told a Herald reporter she had broken her ankle while participating in the Extreme K Mud Run in Silverdale on Oct. 6.

Davis did not return calls for comment.

Erickson would not comment on Davis' reasons for resigning as deputy chief other than "It was a personal reason on her part" to step down.

Davis' resignation came at an awkward time for the city; Chief Dennis Swiney announced on Sept. 26 he would retire on March 31.

“My goal was to ensure we had continuity in information flow to whoever we hired [as chief]," Erickson said. "Deputy Chief Wright was amply qualified [to be deputy chief]. My goal was stability and continuity, and Sgt. Davis agreed to stay for a period of time to help with the transition period."

Wright also applied for the deputy chief position last year. After Davis announced her departure, Wright said Swiney called him at home and offered him the position, having already been vetted for the job.

Wright said being a patrol officer on the streets is "a young person's job," and becoming deputy chief enables him to extend his time in law enforcement.

Wright will continue in the "same vein" as what Swiney has set in motion — helping the department grow in numbers and "maintain the partnership that we have with the community," he said.

The city is using Prothman and Associates to recruit a new police chief. Erickson said 19 people have applied for the police chief position. In addition, the department will hire an additional patrol officer.

 

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