Mill Creek police chief finalist Shawn Boyle on Thursday, in Mill Creek. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Mill Creek police chief finalist Shawn Boyle on Thursday, in Mill Creek. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Meet the 3 candidates for Mill Creek’s next police chief

A decision will be made early next week. It’s between the city’s acting chief, a chief from Alaska and a Yakima police captain.

MILL CREEK — The city is set to make a decision next week on who will take the reins as Mill Creek police chief.

On Thursday, the community got to meet the three finalists for the top job. They are Stan White, who is currently serving as Mill Creek’s acting police chief; Jay Edward King, the chief of police in Unalaska, Alaska; and Shawn Boyle, a police captain in Yakima.

The new leader will replace Jeffery Young, who resigned late last year. White, previously a detective sergeant, was appointed acting chief while the city searched for a replacement.

The position has been in tumult for years.

In October 2020, the city laid off acting police chief Scott Eastman due to budget cuts.

And before that, Chief Greg Elwin left the city after violating policy. An internal investigation found he had harbored a fugitive — his daughter — in his house, and failed to report an employee’s potentially threatening comment.

White wants to return some stability to the role, as someone who has been with the department for almost two decades.

“This is more than just a job to me,” White told The Daily Herald. “This is where I raised my family.”

Mill Creek police chief finalist Stan White on Thursday, in Mill Creek. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Mill Creek police chief finalist Stan White on Thursday, in Mill Creek. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

At the reception Thursday, the acting police chief told attendees the department needs “to be setting the example as the leaders, as the face of our city, to show that respect to the people that we serve.” White, who investigated police use of force with the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team, said officers need to be held accountable when they mess up.

Before moving to the Aleutian Islands city of about 4,000 in 2020, King worked for years in Montgomery, Alabama, including in leadership positions. But he prefers policing in a small town, where everyone knows each other.

He believes respect is key to improving community relations. When officers respect community members, they’ll get that respect back. He tells his officers to speak only in the way they’d talk to their mother, priest or boss.

“I was raised in the South,” King said Thursday. “I was raised from a small kid to say ‘sir,’ ‘ma’am.’ So as a traffic homicide detective, pulling people over on traffic stops, I always say ‘sir,’ ‘ma’am,’ to 16-year-old kids who were racing up and down the road.

Boyle served in the Army before joining the police department in Yakima. He said he’s still learning how to be a commander.

“I’m ready for the challenge,” he said Thursday.

Mill Creek police chief finalist Jay Edward King on Thursday, in Mill Creek. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Mill Creek police chief finalist Jay Edward King on Thursday, in Mill Creek. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

In the face of broad frustration with law enforcement after George Floyd’s murder, Boyle worked to rewrite department policy, including changes to what calls police need to respond to, he said.

Like other local police leaders, all three finalists expressed frustration with recent state-level policing changes, whether it be a new law limiting pursuits, or the state Supreme Court ruling Washington’s drug possession law unconstitutional, or legislation restricting police use of force in mental health crises. This year, lawmakers in Olympia rolled back some of those reforms.

On pursuits, White said legislators need to find a “happy common ground.” On the state Supreme Court ruling, known as the Blake decision, Boyle said it has meant police can’t hold people accountable. The Yakima police captain also noted having crisis responders with police on mental health calls has helped. He’d like to continue that work in Mill Creek.

King wants to give more input to state lawmakers as they craft new police reforms.

City Manager Martin Yamamoto will make a decision on the new chief early next week. He said it won’t be easy.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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