The “interim” tag has been dropped and Bob Huebler has been confirmed as chief of the Enumclaw Police Department.
Mayor Jan Molinaro and City Administrator Chris Searcy had determined the veteran lawman was the right choice for the job and members of the City Council agreed. Official confirmation was given during the Council’s meeting of March 26.
Searcy lauded Huebler as “a person of impeccable integrity” prior to the council vote and City Attorney Mike Reynolds said Huebler is “a prime example of the kind of police officer this country requires.”
Huebler, who has climbed the ranks during a career that spans more than two decades with the Enumclaw Police Department, has guided the EPD on an interim basis since August. He stepped into the role as chief when Jim Zoll retired after more than 13 years with the city.
In November, the city hired an outside agency — Issaquah-based Prothman — to lead the search for a new chief. The city had budgeted almost $25,000 for the process but eventually told Prothman to call of its search; a little more than half the budget had been spent before city leaders realized the top candidate was already part of the city roster.
Huebler was born in Seattle, raised in Omak, Washington, and eventually moved with his family to South Dakota, where he graduated in 1975 from Northwest Lutheran Academy. He enlisted and spent 21 years in the U.S. Army, experiencing an excursion to Panama for the 1989 ouster of dictator Manuel Noriega, eight months in Haiti in 1995, time in Saudi Arabia and a tour of duty in Iraq during the days of Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Following military retirement in 1996 — with his final assignment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord – Huebler went in search of police work. Preparing to interview with the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office, he received a call from Enumclaw, accepted an offer and has chosen to stay put. Starting as a patrol officer, he was promoted in 1997 to sergeant, in 2004 to lieutenant and in 2011 to captain.
Now leading the department, Huebler says exciting things are in store for the EPD. His priority will be to “educate and teach supervisors to fulfill their positions.” With that comes an expected restructuring the police force; the new chief anticipates creating a pair of supervisory positions, one to handle communication and jail operations, the other directing patrol and investigations.
During his time as captain, Huebler was in charge of all four functions and, he admits, it’s too much for one person to handle.
In the end, Huebler said his goal is be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and do everything he can to help officers and department staff succeed.