Police Chief Escalera finalist for Richland post

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Al Escalera

The City of Sunnyside may be looking for a new police chief in September.

The City of Richland has selected Sunnyside Police Chief Al Escalera as one of two finalists for its Chief of Police post. The decision is expected in mid-September

“It’s a great opportunity, and you have to look at them when they come your way,” Escalera said.

Escalera has been leading a force and staff of 50 people in Sunnyside. He will be supervising 133 if he lands the job.

Escalera said Richland is one of the choice police chief positions in the state.

Escalera started his career as an officer in the Pasco Police Department in 1984 at the age of 20. He moved on to the Washington State Patrol in late 1985.

The next stop was in West Richland for two-and-a-half years. He has been in Sunnyside since May 1, 2014.

“I’m not ready to retire yet,” Escalera said. “I still have a daughter in college.”

But Escalera is working his way back home if he lands the Richland assignment. He resides in Pasco.

Escalera was introduced to Richland residents at a Candidate Community Open House last night.  

The other finalist is Dominic Rizzi, Jr. police chief of Yakima. He has 35 years of law enforcement experience and has spent the past six years in Yakima.

Escalera and Rizzi will proceed to the final round of the interview process next week.

Five individuals were selected to participate in the first round of interviews earlier this week.

Candidates were interviewed by two panels; one included members of internal staff, the other was comprised of externally focused participants, which included community partners.

The man chosen will fill the vacancy left by former Police Chief Chris Skinner, who accepted a position as police chief in Eugene, Ore. earlier this year.

“We are pleased with the caliber of candidates who applied for this important position,” City Manager Cindy Reents said Thursday. “I look forward to participating in the final round of interviews and getting feedback from the community.”

Final candidate interviews are set to take place today. A decision is expected by mid-September.



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