There’s a new Police Chief in Bethel. After some push back on candidate selection from the Vice Mayor during last night’s meeting, Bethel City Council has appointed Burke Waldron as interim Chief of Police.
Before the interim appointment of retired State Trooper Burke Waldron was voted on, Bethel Vice Mayor Fred Watson voiced several concerns.
“I’ve had this long, long feeling that Bethel has and continues to be, and it’s changing, continues to be a proving ground for police officers,” said Watson, “and I don’t think we should have that in the big, top position. Being the Police Chief.”
The Vice Mayor brought up the fact that Waldron had not been back to Bethel in over a decade and that, even with an extensive background in investigation, much of that had been as a Fish and Wildlife Trooper. Watson pointed out that this will be a challenging assignment.
“I think an interim Police Chief should have more knowledge than an incoming Police Chief because you have so much more to fill in and less time,” said Watson.
Despite Watson feeling this way, the rest of Council decided that Waldron meets enough of the criteria for the position and that a six-month period will be enough time to see if he’s the right fit.
Waldron was appointed in a five to one vote with Vice Mayor Watson in opposition.
For the six-month period, according to City Attorney Patty Burley, Waldron will not receive a contract. Instead he has received a conditional offer letter from the City of Bethel with, “a good faith hope from everyone that this would be six months or longer as we look and take the process,” said Burley.
The position is without benefits and has a salary of $70,000 for the six-month period.