As a breast cancer survivor, Kristi Wilson knows firsthand about overcoming obstacles along with the value of communication and problem solving.
Wilson, who was promoted to Redmond Police Department (RPD) assistant chief on Monday, said no job — including her new one — can rival the challenges of battling cancer.
Wilson said her new job will be much easier than the surgery and chemotherapy she had to endure after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2007.
But despite her bout with cancer, Wilson never wavered in her work for the RPD and the city — and it paid off in the form of a promotion.
“Kristi’s understanding of where we are going as an organization is really what sold me,” Redmond Police Chief Ron Gibson said of his decision to promote Wilson. “I want our officers to think of themselves as problem solvers in the community. Some officers tend to think of themselves as more of crime fighters and there’s a slight difference there.”
Wilson, who has worked in a myriad of positions at the RPD, possesses those problem-solving skills and is well equipped to help carry out a community-based approach to policing for the rest of the department, Gibson said.
Gibson said he was particularly impressed with the way she expressed “her desire to keep (RPD) moving in that direction.”
Wilson has done just about everything for the department since arriving at the RPD in May 1993, from department budget coordinator to being a member on the city’s technology committee to administrative commander responsible for internal investigations. Her duties will include overseeing police operations, budget, supervising two crime analysts, contract negotiations and acting as the department’s liaison on major technology projects.
Now cancer free for five years, Wilson is ready for the new challenge as the new assistant chief of the RPD.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” she said as she sat in her new office on Monday, the first day of her new job. “We’ve demonstrated a commitment to community involvement, participation, team work, both internally in the department, with the city and outside organizations for long-term problem solving in the community.”
Wilson said she wants to continue that commitment, while also continuing to improve customer service in the community and flexibility within the department.
Wilson was selected from a group of 48 applicants from around the nation and even Canada — Gibson said he received one applicant from Alberta.
Wilson was one of five promotions announced Monday by Gibson.
Police lieutenants Tim Gately, who has been with the department since 2004, and Thom Conroy, who has been with the RPD for more than 20 years, were promoted to commanders.
In addition, Brian Coats, who was hired by the RPD in 1991 and spent the last seven years as a detective, was promoted to lieutenant. Patty Neorr, who has nearly 16 years with the RPD as patrol officer and detective, was also promoted to lieutenant.
The promotions come after the recent retirements of former longtime assistant chief Larry Gainer, who stepped down in March, and commander Terry Morgan, whose last day with the department was last Friday.
The RPD held a ceremony at police headquarters Tuesday afternoon, highlighting the recent promotions.
The recent retirements and promotions are part of many changes at the RPD since Gibson arrived from the Colorado Springs Police Department as the new chief in June of 2010.
In the last two years, the RPD has had a new chief and assistant chief. In addition three out of the five commanders are new and eight out of the 11 lieutenants have changed.
“We have a good surge of people stepping forward and taking leadership positions in the department,” Wilson said. “It’s provided really good opportunities for people in the department. We have some great things ahead.”
From left, Lt. Patty Neorr, Lt. Brian Coats, Commander Tim Gately, Commander Thom Conroy, Assistant Chief Kristi Wilson. Photo courtesy of Redmond Police Department