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Favorite candidate declines invitation to be chief

By Kevin Hanson

The Courier-Herald

Finding a new police chief is proving more difficult than Enumclaw city officials had anticipated.

Mayor John Wise and City Administrator Mark Bauer has hoped a new chief would be named by now, and had looked forward to someone coming on board by Sept. 1.

That plan has been scrapped, however, and the schedule has been pushed back perhaps a month.

Things went according to plan through the interview process the last week of July, but then hit a snag. Rick Kieffer, the current chief in Normandy Park, was tabbed as the city's No. 1 choice and was offered the job. After several days of pondering the offer, he turned it down.

Bauer said he wasn't entirely sure why Kieffer shied away, but suspected he simply was too comfortable in Normandy Park, a department he has served for 25 years.

Wise said there wasn't a clear-cut No. 2 candidate, so the administration and City Council decided to review all applicants again. Wise said he hopes to conduct interviews late this week and have a new chief on the job at least by Oct. 1.

Until a new chief takes over, the department will be managed by Jake Evans. He retired as Auburn's chief in 1994 and has made a second career of filling short-term positions throughout the state. He joined the city police force at the end of January, when former chief Bruce Weigel retired.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com

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