Missoula Police Chief to Announce His Retirement on Monday
KGVO News has learned that Missoula Police Chief Jaeson White will announce his retirement on Monday, February 27, 2023.
City of Missoula Public Information Officer Ginny Merriam confirmed that information to KGVO on Saturday morning.
Police Chief Jaeson White to Step Down for Personal Reasons
After a nationwide search, Chief White was chosen over five finalists for the position on March 2, 2020.
From a story published by KGVO News on December 18, 2019, White told KGVO News that he had four years of experience as a probation officer and then spent the next 28 years with the California Highway Patrol.
Mayor Hess will Begin the Search for a New Police Chief after Monday's Announcement
KGVO News spoke with Mayor Hess on Saturday afternoon who shared what few facts he could about Chief White’s decision to retire.
“Chief White is retiring after 34 years in law enforcement,” began Mayor Hess. “It’s really sad to lose him, but we just wish him the best. What I would say is I think he's leaving for a different pace of life. After all, 34 years is an awfully long career, and I knew he was always only planning to be in Missoula for just a few years to cap off his career and help us with some reforms and changes in the department and he's done an absolutely fantastic job of that.”
Hess said once the dust has settled about the chief’s resignation, internal interviews with the police department will begin to find a new chief.
Internal Interviews will Begin As Soon As Possible to Find a new Chief of Police
“We are doing some interviews in the department starting possibly as soon as next week and all throughout the organization,” Hess said. “From the command staff down to the newest sworn officers, and we're going to interview as many people as possible really to understand what characteristics the department wants to see in the new chief. There are certainly a lot of considerations and skill sets and character traits and leadership traits necessary for a police chief in a city the size of Missoula, and we just want to understand what the department feels like it needs right now.”
Hess said other departments within the city will be heard from, as well.
“We're going to be conducting some similar interviews with some external stakeholders who frequently work with the police department just to understand what's been going well recently; what changes might they want to see or any other factors that we ought to consider in that search,” he said. “Our HR department is in the process of putting together the search process and they're going to propose that to me next week.”
Hess compared the benefits of hiring from within the police department as opposed to doing another national search.
“I would say I think it's somewhat unusual to hire externally for these public safety positions, but it'll certainly be on the table,” he said. “That's one of the questions that we're going to ask in a series of interviews. There are trade-offs. An internal candidate has knowledge of the department and the culture and the operating environment and the procedures while an external candidate might bring different experiences and different ideas but also might have a learning curve as to getting to know the department.”
KGVO News hopes to speak directly to Chief White at his convenience.