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Police chief arrives

Bob Sullenberger - Sarah Arney
Bob Sullenberger
— image credit: Sarah Arney

ARLINGTON — He doesn’t have his uniform yet, but Arlington Police Chief Bob Sullenberger was sworn into office by the City Council May 2.

The new chief of police was originally scheduled to start in March, but due to the crashed housing market he wasn’t able to sell his home in Boulder, Colo.

Since May 2 he has been busy getting to know his staff and the community.

“I went to the chamber meeting, as you know,” Sullenberger said.

He sees the budget as his biggest challenge during his first year in Arlington.

Chief Sullenberger acknowledged the fine job of Acting Chief Terry Quintrall during the past year.

“I am lucky there aren’t any big fires to put out,” Sullenberger said.

“Terry did a great job at stabilizing the force,” Sullenberger said, adding that Quintrall will now return to his position as commander. He is one of three commanders.

“My biggest challenge is to provide quality service within the constraints of a tight budget,” he said.

“If it [the economy] turns around this year, we’ll be OK, but if it continues to slide we’ll have to make some tough decisions for next year.”

Noting that 86 percent of the budget is personnel, he said he has one clerical position open that they will not fill in the near future.

He is looking at some restructuring to make the organization more efficient, he said.

“We will examine the system for any redundancies.”

Chief Sullenberger plans to make good use of community volunteers in some clerical duties as well as reserve officers. He also hopes to make use of interns from law enforcement programs at local colleges and universities.

He hopes to visit neighborhoods with community meetings.

He also sees some challenges in the area of traffic problems which demand a lot of time of his force.

“There are a lot of headaches on 172nd Street,” he said.

Chief Sullenberger got his start in law enforcement as a high school student when he joined the Explorer Scouts.

“I tried being a mechanic, but it just wasn’t right for me,” he said. “I discovered that I like law enforcement because every day is different.”

Chief Sullenberger had his first success with City Council at its May 18 meeting, when his request for continued support of the interlocal agreement with Snohomish County of the Regional Drug Task Force passed unanimously.

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