Mill Creek chooses new chief

By JANICE PODSADA

Herald Writer

MILL CREEK — Mill Creek police Sgt. Bob Crannell is scrambling to finish the last of his paperwork before he empties his desk, and moves on and up.

It’s a short trip to his new office, however, which is just down the hall.

Crannell, 39, will become the city’s new police chief Monday.

City officials picked the 14-year-veteran of the Mill Creek Police Department from a line-up of four finalists.

This summer, the city received more than 100 applications for the position from law enforcement personnel throughout the country.

Crannell has been with the force since its inception in 1986. He began his Mill Creek career as one of five officers providing the city with seven-day, 24-hour police coverage.

"We called it the one range, one ranger approach," Crannell said.

That scenario is no more.

"When we started, we had 3,200 people and no schools. Growth has been the biggest change," he said.

The city’s population now hovers around 11,000.

And the police department now has about 20 employees, 14 of them commissioned officers.

Crannell said the biggest challenge he faces is dealing with a shortage of three officers.

"We’ll be stretched tight," he said. "The northeast annexation looks like it’s a go, the town center. It looks like we’re going to face that with a depleted pool, but we’re going to meet the needs of the customers."

City Manager Bob Stowe said Crannell’s natural leadership abilities, his commitment to the community and to customer service landed him the job.

And his familiarity with the community is an added benefit.

"He can hit the ground running." Stowe said. "He’s well known in the community. If people don’t know him now, they will get to know him."

Crannell has been a field training supervisor for 10 years. He has been the most senior patrol supervisor on the force. He grew up in south Snohomish County, is married and has two children.

The former police chief, John Klei, was fired in May after allegedly failing to address morale and trust issues in the department, Stowe said.

Crannell replaces acting Chief Noreen Skagen, who will retire at the end of the month.

The police chief, a position that pays $58,000 to $79,000 a year, oversees a $3.2 million budget.

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