The city of Marysville has hired Erik Scairpon as their newest police chief and he began work on Sept. 21.
Former Police Chief Rick Smith retired last summer and the city began a search soon after, but that search had been slightly delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're thrilled to have Chief Scairpon here," said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring. "He rose to the top of our search pretty quickly."
Before coming to Marysville, Scairpon had spent his entire career with the Redmond Police Department.
"I started as a police volunteer with the Redmond Police Department, actually," in the mid 1990s. Later Scairpon worked as a police dispatcher and a police officer.
Scairpon moved up the ranks and into the command staff in 2011, where he worked with patrol, administration and investigation.
"I served at that deputy level for the last two years," said Scairpon, which was called a 'captain' in Redmond's police system.
"He showed that he could lead at a high level there," said Nehring. "He was thought very highly of, from both the people he reported to and those who reported to him."
The hiring process began with a nationwide search and the city received dozens of applications, said Nehring.
After holding face-to-face and telephone interviews, the process was stalled for a bit.
"We wanted to do a panel interview like we always do with a high-level position," however because of the pandemic this part of the process was delayed, said Nehring.
"It was a good collaborative process," with input from the Marysville police union and city council members, said Nehring.
The biggest challenges for the city going forward include growth and the continuing presence of opioid addiction.
"We're a growing community. Anytime you have people and businesses coming in, that brings all types of challenges," said Nehring. "We need to keep up with that growth."
Opioid addiction also presents challenges for the police, said Nehring.
"Another big challenge is the drug epidemic and everything that comes with that," he said.
For police, another big issue right now is the political climate and varying calls for police reform, said Scairpon.
"In general, the current climate is one of the biggest challenges," Scairpon said. "How do we improve the criminal justice system while still being respectful of our police?"
In March, after protests arose across the nation after the death of George Floyd, including in Marysville , the Marysville Police Department and Mayor Nehring pledged to conduct a review of all of the city's police policies, especially around the use of force.
Scairpon said the department will continue work on that review.
"We're still completing a review of all our policies," he said.
Accessibility is important for Scairpon and he plans to be open and accessible to the everyone in the community.
"Meeting people and forming new relationships is important to me," he said. "I know we have some challenges because of COVID right now, but I plan to make myself available when I can."
Those relationships are important to help address community concerns, he said.
"It's important that we have those relationships in advance of any crisis so people feel they can approach me if they want to talk about how we can improve the police department," said Scairpon.
He hopes to form productive relationships with the community here, he said.
"One of the things that attracted me to Marysville was the treatment of police officers here," said Scairpon."There is strong support for law enforcement from the city and city council members."
Longtime Marysville police officer Jeff Goldman served as interim chief while the search was being conducted and Scairpon said Goldman has done an excellent job running the department and preparing for the transition.
"Thanks for the work of Interim Police Chief Jeff Goldman has done," said Scairpon. "Myself and the other city officials are very appreciative of the work he has done."