With the Bob Huebler era winding to a close, Commander Tim Floyd has been tabbed to take the reins of the Enumclaw Police Department.
The leadership transition was formalized the evening of Feb. 10 by a unanimous vote of the City Council.
Last week’s action was significant in a couple of ways, aside from the simple fact there will be a new person at the top of the department’s organizational chart.
First, city leadership decided to skip a formal search process, as has been done in the past. And second, Floyd will receive a first-of-its-kind contract that reflects the evolving relationship between police and the public they serve.
Huebler addressed the council on Feb. 10, noting that he has dedicated 46 years to public service and it’s time for a new chapter in his life. He spent 21 years with the U.S. Army and has added 25 years with the Enumclaw P.D. His retirement is effective at the close of June and Floyd will take over July 1.
The current transition was set in motion in August 2017 when former Chief Jim Zoll retired. At that time the city kicked off a large-scale recruitment process, an effort that “cast a wide net across the country,” according to a memo sent to council members by Mayor Jan Molinaro and City Administrator Chris Searcy.
“The applicant response was disappointing,” they wrote, explaining there were no candidates hailing from the Pacific Northwest region as they had hoped. Instead, responses came from places as distant as Arkansas, Tennessee and North Dakota.
In the end, “we determined that the best candidate for our wonderful community of Enumclaw was within our own department,” the memo stated. At that point, Huebler was promoted from the captain’s ranks to lead the force on a permanent basis.
When Huebler stepped into the chief’s office, he acknowledged that it wouldn’t be a decades-long proposition. His goal at the time was to leave the EPD on more solid footing and, as part of that effort, he vowed to begin the process of mentoring members of the force who would be likely successors.
That’s the process that played out with Floyd, Huebler told the council, explaining that Floyd has participated in leadership activities both inside the department and on a regional scale.
With regard to Floyd’s upcoming contract, the Molinaro/Searcy memo took direct aim at actions seen in Seattle during the past year.
“Over the past several months we have seen elected officials in our Puget Sound region take a remarkably adversarial position toward police, police departments and police chiefs,” they wrote. “We stand behind our police department and its men and women, specifically those commissioned law enforcement officers, and most certainly our Chief of Police who sets the example for all law enforcement officers.”
With that in mind, Floyd will receive a contract designed to provide some security.
Enumclaw’s police chiefs have historically been employed on “at will” status, meaning they are subject to “the whims of political motivation, most certainly of the sitting mayor and to a tangential extent, the sitting City Council,” the council memo roads. This differs from all other members of the police department, who have “the protection of due process in their employment.”
The agreement once Floyd assumes the role of chief calls for a five-year term, with automatic two-year renewals. The contract states that if a chief is terminated “without cause” the city would provide six months of severance pay, a lump-sum payment equal to six months of medical coverage and a lump-sum payment that enhances retirement benefits.
If a chief’s termination is deemed justified, the city has none of those financial obligations.