The three finalists for Santa Rosa police chief include the city’s acting chief and two candidates from Washington State.
Santa Rosa announced the final candidates for the city’s top cop on Thursday afternoon in advance of this evening’s public forum with the candidates.
In addition to Hank Schreeder, who has been with the department for 23 years and acting chief since 2013, the two other candidates are Jim Jolliffe, a deputy chief for city of Bellevue, and Chris Sutter, an assistant police chief in Vancouver.
City Manager Sean McGlynn proposed the public forum, a first for the city, as a way to evaluate how the finalists of the nationwide search handle themselves in a public setting, he said.
McGlynn plans to interview the candidates himself Tuesday, and the final hiring decision rests with him.
The forum will feature the men answering questions posed in writing by the public. It will be held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers and streamed live on www.srcity.org.
The new chief will inherit a department that is the source of perennial political debate about its funding levels, and which could need to expand significantly in coming years if the city annexes the remaining county islands in Roseland.
Schreeder, 48, is expected by many to be a strong candidate for the post. He is well regarded by other city leaders, has the support of the rank and file, and has been praised by community groups for his accessibility and responsiveness.
“Hank has established a firm philosophy of collaborative community-based policing, a viewpoint he has instilled in the department and expects every employee to understand and model, enabling the organization to be a respected resource in building services for the community,” the city noted in its release.
He was involved in the development of the Family Justice Center and volunteers on the board of Chop’s Teen Club.
Jolliffe has been a deputy chief in Bellevue, just east of Seattle, for the past five years, overseeing all divisions in the department. He began his career in Orange County in 1983 and has worked at the Bellevue department since 1991.
“Jim places a high value on relationship building and believes successful government employees are collaborative, innovative and future-focused,” the city release stated.
He is a graduate of Leadership Eastside, a community-service based organization with an emphasis on adaptive leadership, and is on the board of Lifewire, a domestic violence service organization.
Sutter has been an assistant chief in Vancouver since 2008 and has a 29-year career in law enforcement in California and Washington. “Chris has demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and works diligently with the community to address issues,” the release stated.
Sutter is a founding member of the Vancouver Police Activities League, a nonprofit focused on building positive connections between youth and police officers, and continues as a mentor with the group.
The chief’s position has a salary range of $158,080 to $196,256.
Though the period to submit questions has passed, members of the public who want to ask a question at the forum will be able to submit them to the city manager, who will consider them during his interviews, Human Resources Director Fran Elm said.