The Bend Police Department is about to welcome a new police chief. It came down to two candidates, and the city chose Jeff Sale, now police chief in Cheney, Wash.
Sale has to pass a final background check, but if all goes as planned, he will be stepping into retiring Chief Sandi Baxter's shoes in a few short weeks.
At a time of cutbacks and budget shortfalls, Sale and the city believe he is up for the challenge.
Sale said he won't start off making any drastic changes, but instead listen and learn.
"For me to say that there's one thing to change in the police department, I have not seen that," Sale said Friday. "I will work with everyone in the police department to find out what the police department needs to look like, how does it need to function within the community and then, how are we going to get there."
Thirty years after becoming Bend's first female police officer, Baxter will be retiring once again. Sale will be taking over in a time when government is having to do more with less money.
"We're in an environment now, with diminishing resources and we need new models of providing law enforcement services," said Bend City Manager Eric King. "Jeff has experience in doing that. He's been successful in obtaining grants and working with professional organizations."
Sale was successful in bringing profitable income to Cheney, with a population of 10,500 people. Moving to a city of 80,000 people and growing will bring its challenges.
"How can we do business differently than we're doing it today, that focuses us in a certain direction?" Sale said. "It needs to deliver the services that the community wants, but can be done in an an economical fashion."
While change can be difficult at times, the city believes it's important for the department to embrace it.
"It's very important to the men and the women in the police department to always be cutting edge and to be that shining light of law enforcement," said King. "Not in the state of Oregon, but nationwide."
Sale believes in order to keep the department strong, officers need to keep in touch with the community.
"It can't just be on the worst day of your life, when everything is wrong," Sale said. "We need to be able to interact with them when everything is okay, so they have the ability to talk to us. They can communicate with us, and we have the ability to talk to them and tell them the issues that are going on."
With hard work, comes a nice paycheck. The police chief's salary is nearly $120,000. Once Sale completes a final background check, he expects to start in early August.
---- Here's the announcement of the selection:
The city of Bend announced late Thursday that Jeff Sale, the current police chief of Cheney, Wash., has been selected as the top candidate to become Bend's new police chief.
Sale was selected after a nationwide search culminating in a site visit to Cheney by city and Police Association officials. Meetings there with local law enforcement and others confirmed positive impressions gained when Sale interviewed in Bend June 20-21.
"Sale brings over 30 years of law enforcement experience and a commitment to community policing to the City of Bend as well as background serving as an active member of a city management team," Bend's announcement said.
Similarities between Cheney and Bend include having a college inside the city limits, location on the eastern side of their respective state, a very active, diverse community and a need to manage budgets closely due to tight funding, the city noted.
While chief in Cheney, Sale has encouraged active community policing, developed a values driven organization and worked closely with community groups to address cultural differences and enhance public safety. He was active in budget issues facing the area, successfully obtaining grants and outside funding to assist with revenue shortfalls.
He also worked closely with business, schools and neighborhoods to address common issues building trust and commitment with citizens for department programs. His philosophy includes building positive perceptions of police officers as ambassadors to the community.
Prior to Cheney, Sale had a 25-year career in the Washington State Patrol with a variety of leadership assignments including education at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.
Upon completion of a comprehensive background check, Sale is expected to begin work as the next police chief in early August. Current Chief Sandi Baxter, who has spent over 30 years with the Bend Police Department, is retiring at that time.
Sale will take over a department recognized throughout Oregon for leading edge police practices and community involvement. The department has about 100 employees and a FY 2011 budget of $18 million.