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Wapato mayor still looking to fill police chief opening

Wapato mayor still looking to fill police chief opening.

WAPATO, Wash.- Wapato Police Chief David Simmons was fired ten days after Juan Orozcos won the controversial race for the city's mayor.

A move he said was made in order for the city to live within its means.

“81,000 for a chief when it was 65,000 in recent years,” Orozco said. “To me it's a lot.”

Wapato's Police Department now has three of its sergeants balancing the duties of a police chief.

Officer Mike Deccio is one of those sergeants and said the experience of those running the departments makes the transition a little easier.

“Anytime you lose a department head it could be a little disconcerting,” he said. “We're going to be just fine. We have capable staff and the sergeants are more than capable to keep things a float for the time being.”

So, when is Wapato going to get a new police chief? That's a question the mayor doesn't even know the answer to.

Orozco said they will look in and outside the department to find someone that can properly represent Wapato.

“We do want to bring in somebody that's hopefully bilingual/bicultural or at least the commitment to our community and that will mesh well with the folks that are already here,” he said.

Orozco also needs to look for a new public works director as well.

However, with both positions open, Orozco said they are saving around $3,000 a week.

Money, they can put toward parts of Wapato that have been falling apart over the years.

“Our cemetery is in horrible condition. Our community center, same. Our swimming pool is in horrible condition,” he said. “The wiring is fried and they shouldn't have been able to use it last year.”

Wapato may not have a police chief, but Orozco said the system they have in place will keep the city safe until they find a new one.

While police chief duties are being handled by its sergeants, Orozco said the city already has people who are qualified to handle public works director duties as well.

So, he said the city will continue to save money and leave those positions open, until they find the people to fill them.

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