Five candidates seek to become Port Orchard’s next police chief

The field will be narrowed to two or three finalists after interviews

PORT ORCHARD — Five candidates seeking to become the next police chief of Port Orchard will take part in interviews on Wednesday with Mayor Rob Putaansuu and city officials.

Two of the five applicants work for Kitsap County-area law enforcement departments. Matthew Brown is deputy chief of police for the Poulsbo Police Department and Jon VanGesen is a detective lieutenant with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

Two out-of-region candidates have ties to the area: Troy Tomaras, chief of police for the City of College Place in Walla Walla County, grew up in Port Orchard and graduated from South Kitsap High School, and Charles Goeken, captain with the City of Manteca, Calif., police department, was stationed during his service with the U.S. Navy in Bremerton and briefly lived in Port Orchard.

The fifth candidate seeking to become police chief is Jeff Wilson, police chief in Orofino, Idaho.

Putaansuu said he is “pleased” with the candidates selected for the all-day interview process Wednesday. He anticipates the field of five will be narrowed to two or three candidates, who will attend a community forum and reception with City Council members and people from the community at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow evening at City Hall.

Here are short biographies of the five candidates seeking to replace current Police Chief Geoffrey Marti, who is retiring at the end of July:

Matthew Brown, Deputy Chief of Police, City of Poulsbo Police Department

Brown has worked in law enforcement for 19 years and was hired as the deputy chief in Poulsbo in December 2017. He has served as a patrol deputy for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, patrol sergeant for the Lakewood Police Department, chief criminal deputy for the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office and most recently as the deputy chief for the City of Poulsbo.

Matthew Brown
                                (Kitsap Daily News photo)

Matthew Brown (Kitsap Daily News photo)

He has held several leadership positions, including assistant SWAT team leader and in the command staff of two distinct operations divisions. Brown holds a bachelor of arts in Sociology from the University of Puget Sound. He is a graduate of the School of Police and Command, Class 447, from Northwestern University and the Executive Leadership Institute Class 165.

Charles Goeken, Captain, City of Manteca, Calif., Police Department

Goeken, who works for the City of Manteca, began his law enforcement work as a police officer and rose through the ranks to become captain during a 24-year career. He has 10 years of experience in strategic planning and budgeting as a division commander. During his naval service, Goeken was stationed in Bremerton and briefly lived in Port Orchard. From 2008 to 2014, Goeken served as mayor of Waterford, Calif.

Charles Goeken
                                (mantecabulletin.com photo)

Charles Goeken (mantecabulletin.com photo)

Goeken holds a bachelor of science from the University of New York Regents College and plans to complete his master’s in criminal justice this spring. He completed the FBI National Academy in 2009. In 2017, Goeken completed the Command College for the State of California.

Jon VanGesen, Detective Lieutenant, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office

VanGesen has been in law enforcement for more than 30 years. In 1991, he joined the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. He has served as a sergeant, lieutenant, assistant commander for the Kitsap County Regional SWAT team and commander of the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team.

Jon VanGesen
                                (KCSO photo)

Jon VanGesen (KCSO photo)

He currently is a detective lieutenant in the Investigations and Support Services Division. VanGesen holds an associates degree in Applied Science from Highline Community College and is studying for a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.

Troy Tomaras, Chief of Police, City of College Place, Wash.

Tomaras, who has worked in law enforcement for 28 years, is currently the chief of police in the City of College Place, Wash., in Walla Walla County. Prior to becoming College Place’s police chief, Tomaras was with the Washington State Patrol for 25 years. Having grown up in Port Orchard and graduated from South Kitsap High School, Tomaras is seeking to return home and serve the community in which he grew up.

Troy Tomaras
                                (City of College Place photo)

Troy Tomaras (City of College Place photo)

Tomaras holds an associates degree from Pierce College, an associated degree in Homeland Security from the University of Charleston, West Virginia, and a bachelor of science in Organizational Leadership from Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety School of Police Staff and Command College.

Jeff Wilson, Police Chief, City of Orofino, Idaho

Wilson has worked in the Orofino Police Department for 26 years. He started as a patrol officer and was promoted to chief of police in 2007. In 2011, Wilson received the City of Orofino’s “Citizen of the Year” award. He has served the last five years on the Idaho Traffic Safety Commission.

Jeff Wilson
                                (City of Orofino, Idaho photo)

Jeff Wilson (City of Orofino, Idaho photo)

In addition to his duties as police chief, Wilson has also served as head coach for Orofino High School. Wilson has a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology from Lewis-Clark State College. His professional training includes more than 400 hours of leadership and executive-level training and certifications.

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