220 Jewett Blvd, PO Box 218, White Salmon, WA 98672 | 509.493.2112
New police chief 'driven by challenge'
The Enterprise interview
KEEPING BUSY — Tracy Wyckoff took over as chief of the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department on Aug. 1. The former Skamania County Sheriff’s deputy has more than 32 years of law enforcement experience, and he’s putting it all to use as a ‘working’ administrator. Wyckoff is promising “a professional police department that will meet and/or exceed” the expectations of Bingen and White Salmon residents.
September 25, 2012
Tracy Wyckoff has been chief of the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department going on two months now. To introduce him to the community, The Enterprise interviewed Wyckoff for his thoughts on a wide range of subjects. The Enterprise's questions and Chief Wyckoff's answers follow in the first The Enterprise Interview, a new feature that will focus on local community and business leaders.
Who is Tracy Wyckoff? Where's he been? What's he done? What's his world view? What drives him?
I am someone who believes in working hard toward what I believe in. I have resided in Skamania County since 1974 and employed by the Sheriff's Office since December of 1979. I have been involved in every aspect of my job (law enforcement) and have accomplished many of my own goals in doing so. I feel we all need to take each day as a good one. Life is ever changing and if we make it through the day this is positive. Think positive and dream big! I am driven by challenge. I believe in fixing what is within my capabilities and enjoy helping and working with others.
How and why did you decide you wanted to take over the troubled Bingen-White Salmon Police department?
What are your goals for the B-WSPD in your first year as chief of police? What have you managed to accomplish so far?
Again, I like a challenge. I feel I can being professionalism, trust, commitment and integrity to the Police Department and give the cities of Bingen and White Salmon the service they deserve. I will bring the department up to date in Policy and Procedures, training and officer commitment. New procedures in some areas to help make our job easier and more effective. I'm working toward improving the radio and computer systems at a minimal cost to the agency. And, I feel I have opened the door for quality communications with other agencies.
What is your management philosophy for the department as a whole, and for the officers working under you? What are your expectations for those officers? How do you intend to evaluate officer performance?
My philosophy is to treat my fellow workers with respect, work with them and not against them. I will be an active participant in doing my share of the work load alongside of my fellow officers. My expectations are for honesty and trust, to be professional in your job and be respectful to the public. I will evaluate officer performance by being a working Chief and involved with the officers as they work.
A large part of the two cities' general fund revenues are obligated to the B-WSPD. How will taxpayers know they are getting a good deal for their dollars, especially when folks in White Salmon know the City Council plans to cut off general fund support for the swimming pool next year if the Nov. 6 pool levy fails?
Both cities will get a professional Police Department that will meet and/or exceed their expectations!
You've been in law enforcement for some 32 years now. How did you come to choose law enforcement as a career? Or, did it choose you?
I have always enjoyed helping others. I have worked around Law enforcement since I was a child. I saw what I liked and made Law Enforcement my goal.
What does a police chief do to manage the stress that comes with the job?
Do your job professionally, be honest and don't try to be what you are not. The stress takes care of itself.
How important is it to have good relations with other local law enforcement agencies? What's the upside? What's the downside?
Having a good relationship with surrounding agencies is extremely importance. The upside is having the help when you need it by just asking. We are one big family and if that family relationship is good, there is no downside.
In June 2011, downtown Bingen -- Steuben Street -- got shutdown, with traffic -- some of it heavy -- redirected over a rickety bridge through a park and a mixed commercial-residential neighborhood. The cause of the shutdown was a suspicious envelope that had been left at a reception desk at the Insitu business offices. Metro-area bomb investigators eventually determined the package was innocuous and contained only correspondence (from a then White Salmon City Councilor to Insitu's then new president). How would you handle this situation if it happened on your watch?
This incident did not happen on my watch. I am not going to second guess the people involved. I am working on getting a complete understanding of the business and the surrounding area. I will deal with whatever happens in Bingen and White Salmon to the best of my ability.
How does having a supplier of U.S. military hardware residing in your jurisdiction change the dynamics of your department's operations? Or does it matter?
This is a business like any other business, except is has its own inner security system and people in place. The Police Department will assist them when needed just like we would any other business we protect.
You had political aspirations once upon a time. You ran for sheriff of Skamania County, and later for commissioner. Are your days of running for office behind you?
I ran for public office as a means to utilize my experience to the benefit of the county I live in. My long-range goal is not of political aspirations, but to strive to bring the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department to the standard where it will be cost effective, efficient and gain the respect and trust of the community.
In your opinion, what went wrong with the B-WSPD after Tony Domish became chief? How do you intend to prevent history from repeating itself?
I did not work with Domish and will not criticize what he did or did not do in the past. I have built a positive name for myself. I will not jeopardize my integrity in doing my job. I will see that the officers have the knowledge, training and experience to do the job that is required of them. I have no intentions of letting the Bingen/White Salmon Police Department fail!