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Tue, Oct. 22

Jarrell to become Prescott Valley's fourth police chief in 10 years

Bryan Jarrell

Bryan Jarrell

After the unexpected reversal of newly hired Keith Lane's decision to become Prescott Valley's police chief, Town Manager Larry Tarkowski announced Friday morning he had hired Bryan Jarrell, a 28.5-year veteran of a suburban Detroit police department.

Jarrell, who retired in July from being deputy chief of the police department in Southfield, Mich., plans to finish his career here in Prescott Valley.

He will become the fourth chief in a decade.

Tarkowski said the town will offer Jarrell the same pay as Keith Lane: $119,000 a year. Jarrell, who lives in Milford, Mich., will begin his new job Nov. 25.

Tarkowski made the announcement a day after Lane, police chief in Haltom City, Texas, bowed out from taking the job, stating city officials back home urged him to stay. Tarkowski announced Lane's hiring Sept. 19 from a pool of three finalists based on feedback he received from a panel that interviewed the candidates, police officers who met with them and comments from the public. The other finalist was Ken Koch, a Dewey resident with a long law enforcement career.

Tarkowski on Thursday said he planned to meet with the interview panel next week to discuss the next step, but indicated Friday morning that he had caucused with its members during the afternoon and evening.

"As of what was stated a month ago, all three of our finalists were very good candidates and all capable of leading the police department," Tarkowski said. He added Jarrell "has very good skills and a stellar professional record."

He said panel members concurred with him that Jarrell is a good choice.

Panelist Marnie Uhl, president and chief executive officer of the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce and formerly a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy, said Jarrell "was actually neck and neck when we were deciding on our next police chief. Bryan Jarrell was right up there at the top. He will make an outstanding police chief."

Jarrell, 53, said he is "very excited about the opportunity." Referring to Lane bowing out, he added, "Things happen for a reason."

He said he has been looking at different law enforcement agencies to work since retiring.

"I've got 28 and a half years of training and education and experience," he said. "I am still young, and would like to put it to use in a good, progressive community like Prescott Valley."

Jarrell said he and wife, Tina, and three children spend vacations in Arizona every year, and enjoy outdoor activities that include hiking and mountain and road biking. Tina, an assistant to the director of adult education at the Novi Community School District, runs every year in the Boston Marathon.

He stated in his one-page bio that he possesses a "wide range of competencies in law enforcement covering areas of focus such as budget, organized labor, criminal investigations, crime prevention and crime reduction techniques, traffic safety, and acceptable supervisory practices."

Jarrell began his career in Southfield as a police officer and rose through the ranks to deputy chief, a position he held for 10 years.

He earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Eastern Michigan University, and is pursuing a master's degree in administrative leadership from the University of Oklahoma.

He emerged as one of the three finalists of an applicant field that exceeded 80 people.

Jarrell replaces Bill Fessler, who retired March 15 amid what he said was the "controversy" over his involvement in the Iron Brotherhood, a law enforcement motorcycle club. Cmdr. James Edelstein has served as interim chief since then.

Jarrell will inherit a department tarnished by the Iron Brotherhood, whose members took part in a bar brawl this past December on Whiskey Row; and an audit that disclosed police officers overlooked photo-enforcement violations involving family members driving the officers' private vehicles. Prescott Valley ended photo enforcement earlier this month.

The police department has an annual budget of $7.9 million, about 64 sworn officers and 13 other employees.

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