Grand Coulee council confirms Don Redfield as next chief

 

Last updated 3/27/2024 at 12:43pm

New police chief Don Redfield.

Don Redfield has been selected as the next chief of the Grand Coulee Police Department, a turnabout from the mayor's initial decision this month not to hire any of the candidates from the original pool.

Mayor Mike Eylar's choice was unanimously approved by the city council at a special meeting convened last night, moving forward a process that had garnered public criticism from the department's rank and file.

"Circumstances changed that made immediate action necessary," Eylar told The Star after the three-minute meeting when asked about the reversal. "We are going to give our candidate every bit of assistance in order to make him succeed."

Redfield's resume includes 22 years with the Colville Tribal Police, his current employer, and 11 years with other agencies. With the tribal department, he has served as patrol sergeant, detective, field training officer and patrol officer. He also worked on two state-level narcotics task forces, as well as a federal major crimes task force called Salish Safe Trails Task Force for almost six years.


"I'm very happy that I got selected," Redfield said, who is also an Electric City council member. "It's actually the culmination of a dream that I stood at the police academy in 1985 and said I'd like to do before I retire."

There are still a few more hurdles to clear - background checks and other standard city hiring procedures - before Redfield officially joins the department. Once on board, he will lead a team that has been understaffed as of late and just lost another officer to indefinite extended leave.

GCPD Officer Levi Johnson, the only internal candidate for chief, announced on social media last week he will be taking an "open-ended, extended leave of absence" from the department, after casting doubt on the hiring process at last week's regular council meeting.

"In the wake of my son's untimely death, the questionable ethics and lack of transparency of the new city administration was too much to bear," Johnson wrote on his page, which was shared in a Coulee-area community announcement page by fellow GCPD Officer Colin Hopper.

Johnson's 16-year-old son Jett was killed in a car accident on Highway 155 near Blue Lake last month.

After last night's council meeting, Eylar, who spent 26 years in law enforcement in Las Vegas, Nevada, said he has "full confidence in Don."

"I believe he is going to turn out to be the correct man for the job," the mayor said. "And I'm hoping that by having the selection of the chief behind us that we are able to start moving forward in getting our department in order." 

 

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