The final four: Glenwood Springs police chief candidates talk policing philosophies at community meet and greet
Who will serve as the next chief of police for Glenwood Springs?
The list of candidates has narrowed to four and the final decision is up to City Manager Debra Figueroa.
With the help of a 13-member advisory committee, which includes members of the Glenwood Springs Police Department, Figueroa hopes to fill the position by the end of December.
After 35 years with the department, former Glenwood Springs Chief of Police Terry Wilson retired earlier this year. Lt. Bill Kimminau became acting chief as the search for Wilson’s permanent replacement ensued.
The city contracted with KRW Associates for $18,500 to conduct the national search.
Three-dozen candidates applied, none of which were from within the Glenwood Springs Police Department, Figueroa said.
At Thursday’s meet and greet event, the final four candidates shook hands with residents and spoke briefly about their own law enforcement experience and philosophies.
Taking the microphone in alphabetical order, Police Capt. Joseph Deras of the Gilroy Police Department in California said he did not view the chief of police position as a “stepping stone” but instead hoped to relocate his family to Glenwood Springs for the long haul.
“I don’t bring California politics with me,” Deras said. “You have your own identity, your own culture and so there is no need for me to come and try to make you the new Gilroy PD.”
Deras has 28 years of law enforcement experience and speaks English and Spanish.
“We are really trying to make an effort to reach out to the non-English speaking folks,” Deras said. “Your concerns are my concerns.”
Deras has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and continues to pursue a master’s degree in public safety leadership.
Following Deras was Canon City Police Chief Daric Harvey.
In his early days in law enforcement, Harvey worked near Disney World with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department in Central Florida. Eight years ago, Harvey and his family relocated to the Western Slope after he took a job with the Vail Police Department as a commander.
“During my time in Eagle, the two things that were really important to me over there were mental health and youth outreach,” Harvey said. “Depression and suicide – all those things that people are afraid to talk about – we had to talk about. So, I got involved.”
Harvey has 23 years of law enforcement experience and holds a master’s degree in criminology and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration.
“If any segment of the community here doesn’t trust us, it’s because we’re not communicating,” Harvey said. “We really need to find opportunities and in many instances create those opportunities for us to have conversations.”
Those in attendance Thursday were encouraged to fill out comment sheets, which KRW Associates said it would turn over to Figueroa for further consideration.
Finalist Cristian “Sean” Hemingway made the trip from Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, where he serves as the town’s chief of police; a post he has held since 2013.
Hemingway called recruitment, specifically bringing the Glenwood Springs Police Department up to a realistic staffing level, his “No. 1 priority.”
“Speaking with the officers here, that’s one of their No. 1 challenges,” Hemingway said of recruitment difficulties. “One thing I do see in Glenwood is I see a police department that cares.”
Hemingway, who has 30 years of law enforcement experience and described himself as a “tech guy” that believed in policing with technology.
“Policing smarter than harder,” Hemingway said. “So we know where to be and when.”
Hemingway has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in criminology.
The final candidate to speak Thursday was Lianne Tuomey who has 37 years of law enforcement experience to date.
For the last decade Tuomey has served as the chief of police for the University of Vermont’s Department of Police Services. Prior to her time at the university Tuomey worked for the Burlington Police Department, also in Vermont.
“What I bring is a passion for police work and a reverence for the people who do that work,” Tuomey said.
Tuomey said change was happening and discussed the importance of serving all of Glenwood Springs’ constituents.
“All of those folks, including the members of the Glenwood Springs Police Department, are the constituents that I serve,” Tuomey said. “We will get the best decisions that we can by collaborating … bringing together multiple perspectives.”
Tuomey also has a master’s degree in social work and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
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