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Duluth police chief a finalist for job in Kansas

Duluth's chief of police is one of two finalists to fill the same job in Wichita, Kan. Chief Gordon Ramsay announced the news Friday, as did the city of Wichita in a news release. The other finalist is Jeff Spivey, assistant chief of police in Ir...

9/11 commemoration
Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay speaks during a 9/11 commemoration in Duluth in September 2014. (News Tribune file photo)

Duluth’s chief of police is one of two finalists to fill the same job in Wichita, Kan.

Chief Gordon Ramsay announced the news Friday, as did the city of Wichita in a news release. The other finalist is Jeff Spivey, assistant chief of police in Irving, Texas.

Ramsay declined an interview request to discuss his candidacy for the position. However, he later posted a message on his Facebook page in which he said “the thought of leaving here is bittersweet. I grew up in Duluth, have deep, deep roots here and look forward to coming to work at DPD every day. I am very proud of where Duluth PD is today. ...

“A lot of the policing issues facing Wichita match my skill set and passions that we have been successful in addressing. Wichita is a friendly, welcoming community that has captivated my interest and offers new challenges.”

Wichita City Manager Robert Layton said in a news release that he expects to name a new chief before the end of the year.

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Ramsay has been chief of the Duluth Police Department since 2006, heading a department with about 180 employees and a $20 million budget for 2015.  

Wichita is a city of more than 382,000 residents about 800 miles southwest of Duluth; its police department, the largest in Kansas, has a budget of about $82 million and more than 830 employees.

Ramsay is a 22-year police officer, and past president of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, among a host of other leadership roles he’s held throughout his career. In its news release, the city of Wichita cited Ramsay’s work with diverse groups in creating Duluth’s first police civilian review board.

A Duluth East graduate, Ramsay holds law enforcement and management degrees from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and College of St. Scholastica, respectively.

In 2014, Ramsay oversaw the rollout of almost 100 body cameras within the Duluth police force. Department policy instructs officers to record almost all incident responses, including traffic stops, arrests, searches, confrontations, uses of force and interviews with suspects and witnesses.

“We’re pioneers in the state on this issue,” Ramsay told the News Tribune earlier this year.    

The Wichita Police Department is in the midst of an exhaustive organizational assessment process and has been without a police chief since September 2014. Wichita State University conducted an assessment of the department that involved many stakeholders in an effort to identify the right skill set for the next police chief, said Van Williams, a public information officer for the city.

An initial search for the new chief yielded two candidates, but one took another job and the city made a decision not to hire the other, necessitating a second search that yielded 62 applicants and seven semifinalists.

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“We have used a strong collaborative approach to get to this point,” Layton, the city manager, said in the news release. “I remain focused on finding the right person for this very important job, a leader who will help local law enforcement evolve and respond to the growing needs of our community.”

Layton said he expects to hire a chief following final panel interviews and a public forum with the finalists on Dec. 14.

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Gordon Ramsay

Related Topics: POLICE
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