News

City hunt for police chief is concluded

Assistant chief from California is chosen

Editor's note: Next week, comments from the new chief.

By Kevin Hanson

The courier-Herald

Following a day packed with interviews in Southern California, Enumclaw city officials tendered a job offer to Jim Zoll, hoping the veteran police officer would jump at the chance to become Enumclaw's new chief.

Following a day of consideration, Zoll agreed and is poised to take over the Enumclaw Police Department early next month.

City Administrator Mark Bauer hopes this closes a difficult chapter in city government. Following a months-long process, the city previously tabbed three finalists for the top police job. The No. 1 choice was offered the job, but refused, prompting city officials to reconsider their choices.

They looked at Zoll, a longtime officer who now serves as assistant chief in Chula Vista, Calif. He was not one of the original three top picks, but floated to the top the second time around.

Zoll had interviewed in Enumclaw Aug. 20 and last week, a three-person team traveled from Enumclaw to Chula Vista, hoping to gather more information. Making the trip were Bauer, Mayor John Wise and Jake Evans, who has served as interim chief since the retirement early this year of Bruce Weigel.

The team interviewed Chula Vista's chief, city manager, mayor and members of the city police force, along with the local school superintendent, district attorney and director of the chamber of commerce. Liking what they heard, they offered Zoll the job.

Zoll is a Chula Vista native who spent one year with the San Diego police force, then returned for the police department in his home town. He started in 1972 as a patrol officer and climbed through the ranks, becoming assistant chief in 1998.

"We were very impressed with his sense of community┬Őhis concept of participating as a true partner with the community," Bauer said.

Bauer believes Zoll sought the Enumclaw post for two reasons: first, Chula Vista has grown from a town of 30,000 to a city of 200,000 and Zoll was seeking a smaller community; and, second, Zoll was looking to move into a chief's job. Also, Zoll's wife is from the Northwest and the couple is familiar with the area.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com.

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