Roger Bragdon could be a strong candidate to replace Terry Mangan as Spokane’s police chief.
In his 25 years with the department, Bragdon has risen from the top cadet in his 1973 police academy class to deputy chief - the second-highest post on the force.
He is a graduate of the FBI’s Regional Command College in Oregon and is considered a national expert in critical incident management.
City Manager Bill Pupo has tagged Bragdon to lead the force between the time of Mangan’s departure and the naming of a new chief.
But Bragdon’s lack of a four-year college degree may prevent him from becoming the permanent chief.
City policy requires that all department heads have a bachelor’s degree, said Dorothy Webster, an assistant city manager who is working to recruit a new chief.
“I don’t see why this position should be any different,” Webster said last week.
In addition, a group of senior city officials and citizen volunteers drafting qualifications for Mangan’s replacement decided that the next chief should have at least a four-year degree, Webster said.
Mangan, who has groomed Bragdon for a shot at the top job, isn’t happy about the requirements, which have been circulated nationwide in an effort to recruit candidates for the job.
“The guidelines are problematic,” said the chief, who didn’t get to review the recruitment literature before it went out. “I hope they’re just guidelines. I hope they’re not strictly adhered to.”
The final call will be Pupo’s, who as city manager is responsible for hiring and firing the police chief.
Pupo said Thursday that the qualifications written by his staff and volunteers “are very important requirements, and we will ardently try to adhere to them.”
But he left open the possibility that he may change them if he isn’t satisfied with the people who apply.
“I’m not saying anything’s set in stone until we look at the first pool of applicants,” he said.
Attempts to reach Bragdon for comment Thursday were unsuccessful, and he left town Friday without returning a reporter’s calls.
His education history couldn’t be confirmed, but Police Department sources say he has no bachelor’s degree.
When he was named deputy chief last year, the department issued a statement listing highlights from his resume. It included a line saying he had attended Eastern Washington University.
Eastern records indicate that he took classes from the winter quarter of 1988 to the winter quarter of 1989 but received no degree.
He also took classes at Washington State University for a semester, records state, but did not graduate from there, either.
Mangan said he hopes work experience and professional training can substitute for the bachelor’s degree requirement.
A college degree wasn’t required when Bragdon and others joined the department in the early 1970s, Mangan said.
“People from inside the department could do a great job,” Mangan said. “I’d hate for them not to get an opportunity to at least compete.”
By the end of last week, the city had received 12 resumes and 50 requests for application packets, Webster said. People from Poland to Houston have expressed interest in the job, which pays nearly $90,000 per year, she said.
Three current members of the Police Department have requested the materials necessary to apply for the job, Webster said. She would not give their names.
The only internal candidate who may qualify for the position under the current requirements is Assistant Chief John Sullivan, a 24-year veteran.
Attempts to reach him last week were unsuccessful.
Sullivan’s education history could not be confirmed, but, like Bragdon, he meets most of the other qualifications, including seven years in a major command position and knowledge of community-oriented policing techniques.