Mukilteo a step closer to new police chief

MUKILTEO — Only a few more tests stand between Rex Caldwell and his Mukilteo police chief’s uniform.

The City Council on Monday night unanimously confirmed his appointment as police chief.

Caldwell must undergo further background checks and psychological tests before he can be sworn in, city administrator Joe Hannan said. The extra tests are expected to wrap up by the end of the week.

Earlier Monday night, the council held a small ceremony for the outgoing chief, Mike Murphy.

Murphy said he was glad to be at a City Council meeting as a civilian for the first time. He is retiring after nearly 14 years as Mukilteo’s police chief and several more as a commander.

Murphy is a jokester who was much-missed around the department after a July motorcycle accident put him on medical leave for months last year.

He is healing well and has finished his crash-related surgeries, he said Monday.

Mayor Joe Marine thanked Murphy for his service and dedication.

“You’ve done an excellent job,” he said.

Marine then presented Murphy with a special retired police chief’s badge and an retirement clock complete with a barometer, thermometer and thank you inscription from the city.

Murphy got a standing ovation after he read a goodbye poem to Mukilteo.

“I will miss everyone in the city of Mukilteo very much,” he said. “Thank you.”

Caldwell is expected to be sworn in Jan. 17. He’ll likely be working before then, preparing for the transition, Marine said Tuesday.

Caldwell said he spent much of Monday cleaning out e-mails and saying his own goodbyes at the Kirkland Police Department, where he has worked for nearly 30 years.

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