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Coeur d’Alene selects new police chief

Thu., Aug. 7, 2014, 11:45 a.m.

Coeur d’Alene’s new police chief is Lee R. White, an assistant chief in Mesa, Arizona. White will assume the post Sept. 2.

The city announced the selection today. Wayne Longo retired as Coeur d’Alene’s police chief last fall, and Ron Clark has served as interim chief.

“The biggest thing I’m planning on doing is going on a listening tour,” White said in a statement released by the city. “I want to listen to the community and to the officers and open the lines of communication and basically find out how the police department can better serve the community and the residents of Coeur d’Alene.”

White was a finalist along with Gary Jensen, chief of police in Logan, Utah. They were among 75 candidates who applied for the job.

During his police career, White has worked in or supervised nearly every area of police work, making his way through the ranks of the Mesa Police Department from patrol officer to assistant chief.

Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer said White stood out throughout the application process.

“I’m thrilled that Lee White has accepted the position,” Widmyer said in a news release. “He is a respected police officer with a high degree of integrity and proven leadership.”

White, who has family in Coeur d’Alene, said he and his wife fell in love with the area after their first visit years ago.

“We were really hoping this opportunity would present itself,” he said. “We’re huge outdoor enthusiasts—hunting, fishing, skiing, water sports—and everybody up there is extremely nice.”

In Mesa, White oversaw the department’s $157 million budget and was responsible for members of the investigations bureau. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.

The city’s search committee included Widmyer, Human Resources Director Melissa Tossi, Acting City Administrator Troy Tymesen, Deputy City Attorney Wes Somerton, City Council members Ron Edinger and Dan Gookin, Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger, retired county Undersheriff Tad Leach, former FBI agent Wayne Manis, Mary Souza, Coeur d’Alene Fire Chief Kenny Gabriel, police association members Brady Reed and Nick Lowry, and citizen at large Larry Bieber.


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