Spokane County Undersheriff Dave Ellis will be Spokane Valley’s next police chief.
Ellis, who has worked at the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office for 18 years, will replace retiring police Chief Mark Werner.
Ellis will start his new position in July.
The city of Spokane Valley contracts most of its services with private businesses or Spokane County. Under the city’s contract with the sheriff’s office to provide law enforcement, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich chooses three candidates with the rank of lieutenant or higher, and city manager Mark Calhoun appoints one of those candidates to the position. Ellis, as well as the other candidates, were interviewed by the sheriff and two city panels, said city spokesman Jeff Kleingartner.
Ellis started his career at the Post Falls Police Department in 1998 as a patrol officer, field training officer and as a member of the SWAT team. He was hired at the Sheriff’s Office in 2002 working as a patrol deputy, and he later worked as a detective, patrol sergeant, traffic unit sergeant, tactical flight officer and supervisor of the Sheriff Office’s Air Support Unit.
Ellis currently oversees the Sheriff Office’s Patrol, Investigative and Intelligence Divisions, as well as the aviation, dive and water rescue teams.
Werner was appointed in 2016 and will retire from a 30-year career in law enforcement in June. He replaced Rick VanLeuven, who also retired.
Ellis said he was honored to be chosen and appreciated the work of his predecessors before him.
“Mark Werner’s done a phenomenal job out there. I’m hoping to keep that going,” Ellis said. “He’s done well and certainly deserves a nice retirement.”
Though Ellis now lives near Colbert, he grew up in Spokane Valley, graduating from University High School in 1996, and still coaches soccer in the area.
“It’s neat to be able to give back to the community I grew up in,” Ellis said.
He said he hopes to support the current staff in the work it’s already doing, and also offer a smooth transition as the area struggles with economic and health impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Obviously, we’re going through some uncertain times,” he said. “So I’m hoping to provide guidance and stability for not only the deputies there, but everyone in the community.”
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