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Newport News selects outside candidate as new police chief

December 12, 2013 | Virginia News

News Image Rick Myers, former Colorado Springs, Colo., police chief will replace former chief Jim Fox, who retired in August

By Peter Dujardin, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Daily Press

NEWPORT NEWS — Newport News has tapped an outside police veteran as its new chief of police, selecting a man who has previously led seven police departments around the country.

Richard W. “Rick” Myers, 59, served for nearly five years as police chief in Colorado Springs, Colo. He also led the Sanford, Fla., Police Department for 11 months on an interim basis in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin slaying, as a national controversy swirled around that department.

A native of Rochester, Mich., Myers has been in law enforcement for 35 years, leading two police departments in Michigan, and one each in Wisconsin, Illinois and Colorado, before two interim jobs.

He began as chief in Colorado Springs — the nation's 46th largest city, with more than twice the population of Newport News — in 2007. He was asked to step aside in late 2011 when an incoming mayor wanted to “clear the decks” and appoint a new slate of department heads, Myers said.

He will become Newport News' chief on Jan. 16, at an annual salary of $154,000. He will lead a department that has a $43 million operating budget and 554 employees, including 418 sworn police officers.

City Manager Jim Bourey's decision to go outside the Police Department for his first major hire continues what's now a three-decade trend of selecting chiefs from outside the department.

Bourey said that while all five finalists were excellent candidates and the selection was difficult, Myers rose to the top in his ability to “engage” with the community.

“He understands how to re-energize the engagement we have with the citizens in Newport News,” Bourey said. “We have a very professional police department, very committed and skilled. But what we don't do is … engage citizens directly in a way that will help facilitate our community policing.” ...

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