Cd'A tabs interim police chief

Clark to lead while city searches for Longo's successor

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COEUR d'ALENE - The city of Coeur d'Alene named Cpt. Ron Clark as interim police chief to replace Wayne Longo, who is retiring from the command post this fall.

The City Council voted unanimously this week to fill three retiring department head positions with interim appointments, including Clark as police chief, who will take over for Longo effective Oct. 1.

The recruitment process for finding a full-time replacement to head the police department will begin in January, after a new City Council is seated following the November election.

City Administrator Wendy Gabriel said she will recommend a nationwide search to find the replacement, but the decision will ultimately be up to the new council.

"I would recommend to the council that we do a national search for the police chief," Gabriel said Thursday, adding that there isn't a timetable on how long a replacement process could take. "It can be as much as three months, it can take six months, sometimes it can take longer."

The Police Association collective bargaining group is also recommending a national search to find Longo's full-time replacement, Gabriel said.

Longo was hired in 2007 as police chief after more than 30 years working for the Idaho State Police.

Clark couldn't be reached for comment Thursday, but Sgt. Christie Wood, police spokesperson, said Clark is a 28-year veteran of the police department who has supervised every department inside the police station. The last 10 years Clark has worked as supervisor for investigations and support services, the record division. He has an associate degree from Spokane Community College in law enforcement, a bachelor's degree in business management from Lewis-Clark State College and graduated from FBI Command College in Quantico Va.

"He's well liked and respected," Wood said. "The employees are completely happy with the selection."

Gabriel said she didn't know yet whether she would recommend the same national search approach for replacing department heads in the planning and parks departments, although the recruitment process for finding full-time replacements there will also start in January.

Planning Director Dave Yadon will retire Oct. 1. He will be replaced by interim director Warren Wilson, who is deputy city attorney.

Gabriel said Wilson, who works as legal counsel for the planning commission, will earn an additional $800 a month for the added responsibility.

Parks Superintendent Bill Greenwood will be elevated to interim Parks Director to replace current director Doug Eastwood, who is retiring Aug. 30 after 35 years with the city.

Three city council seats and the mayor's post are up for election in November.

The City Council made the decision Tuesday evening following an executive session meeting on the personnel issue.

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