Five candidates vying to be Missoula's next chief of police will interview before a panel during an open forum next week.
The field of candidates, whittled down from 65 applicants, includes Scott Hoffman, assistant chief of the Missoula Police Department, and four from outside the department. Candidates will each have 40-minute blocks before an 11-member selection panel in Room 151 of the Missoula County Courthouse. Three candidates will be interviewed on Dec. 10 from 3 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., and two on Dec. 11 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
The City of Missoula released the following information on the five candidates, listed in alphabetical order:
- Michael Cobb, police captain at the Richland Police Department in Richland, Washington, and interim director and operations manager of Benton County Emergency Services. He has 37 years of experience in law enforcement.
- Darrin Grondel, executive director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, formerly a Washington State Patrol trooper and Division Commander of the commercial Vehicle Division of the State Patrol.
- Garrik Haynes, Operations Sergeant of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, with 17 years of law enforcement experience and additional background in Spanish and Computer Information Management.
- Hoffman, assistant chief of the Missoula Police Department since 2013, with 27 years of experience in law enforcement, working his way up through the agency from patrol officer.
- Jaeson White, assistant chief with the California Highway Patrol, with 28 years of law enforcement experience in patrol, tactical units, investigative units and administration.
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Each candidate will give a presentation on a pre-assigned topic and then answer questions from the public.
Former Chief Mike Brady stepped down from his post on Nov. 26, city spokeswoman Ginny Merriam said in the release. Asked Wednesday why Brady left the position a month earlier than previously said by city officials, Missoula director of Human Resources Kathy Crego said the early retirement was "entirely because of the timing necessary to begin drawing his retirement benefit from the Municipal Police Officers Retirement System."
Missoula Police Captain Mike Colyer has since stepped into the role of interim chief. He is not an applicant for the position.