Ending year of turnover, Mill Creek gets a new police chief

Jeffery Young spent 25 years with the Phoenix Police Department. He becomes chief in a time of turmoil.

Mill Creek Police Chief Jeffrey Young (City of Mill Creek)

Mill Creek Police Chief Jeffery Young (City of Mill Creek)

MILL CREEK — After the departure of two police chiefs this year, Mill Creek has a new top cop.

City Manager Michael Ciaravino named Jeffery Young, who had a 25-year career with the Phoenix Police Department in Arizona, to become the new permanent police chief, according to a news release Friday. He will assume his new role on Monday.

In addition to being a police officer, Young is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and was a sergeant in the Army National Guard. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Webster University at Luke Air Force Base and a bachelor’s degree in human services from Wayland Baptist University.

Ciaravino lauded Young, who was a lieutenant in Phoenix, for his experience “leading diverse teams of sworn supervisors, officers and civilian staff,” including in community engagement and crime prevention. News articles from Arizona indicate Young previously oversaw the Phoenix department’s school resource officers and led the bias-crime unit. He also was a Strike Team leader for Super Bowl XLIX and helped with police supervision at other crowded events, such as college football playoffs.

At the Nov. 24 city council meeting, where he first announced his pick, Ciaravino called the search a “frankly grueling process” but quickly noted that Young rose to the top of the candidates list “clearly and decisively.”

“He has really impressed myself and the members of the selection committee as someone who is both versatile with the technical, but has not lost common sense nor humility,” Ciaravino said.

Young will lead a department of about 20 police officers and a handful of administrative staff. He is taking the position during a year of challenges, including a global pandemic, nationwide unrest and budget constraints.

“I will be dedicated to maintaining an engaged, cohesive team environment in the Mill Creek Police Department,” Young said in a statement. “This will take communication, achievable goals, vision, and empowerment of our teams. As the new Chief of Police, it will be my responsibility to ensure that a high functioning environment is fostered through open communication and encouragement of innovative ideas and solutions, including the appropriate training, equipment and resources to ensure the Mill Creek Police Department’s success.”

Former Chief Greg Elwin was placed on administrative leave in January pending the outcome of a probe that the city launched following a no-confidence vote in the chief by the Mill Creek Police Officers Guild. He left his position in May after an internal investigation found he had harbored a fugitive — his daughter — in his house, and that he failed to report to the city manager an employee’s potentially threatening comment.

Deputy Chief Scott Eastman took on the role of acting chief in Elwin’s stead but was laid off in October due to budget cuts. He had advocated for doing away with the deputy chief position to save the city some money, knowing he could handle leading the department by himself, but admitted that he didn’t think it would affect his future employment.

Since October, Sgt. Robert Phillips has run the department. He was commended during the Nov. 24 city council meeting for his handling of recent anti-mask protests at Central Market.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

This story has been modified to correct the spelling of Mill Creek Police Chief Jeffery Young.

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