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Langley close to choice on acting chief

Langley Officer Randy Heston is expected to be nominated for acting police chief later this month. He’ll step in for longtime Police Chief Bob Herzberg, who is retiring.  - Brian Kelly / Record file
Langley Officer Randy Heston is expected to be nominated for acting police chief later this month. He’ll step in for longtime Police Chief Bob Herzberg, who is retiring.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / Record file

LANGLEY — A 15-year veteran of the Langley Police Department is expected to step in as acting chief when longtime Police Chief Bob Herzberg retires in March.

Langley’s Civil Service Commission gave the nod on Wednesday for the city’s top cop slot to be filled as a temporary position, and Mayor Paul Samuelson said he’ll ask the city council at its next meeting to appoint Officer Randy Heston as acting chief.

“We’re really excited about the possibilities with Randy,” Samuelson said. “It’s a new era.”

“Bob’s shoes will be very hard to fill,” Samuelson added of Herzberg. “He’s been here for 33 years, he knows the city inside out and backwards. He knows more about what goes on here than any of us will ever know.”

The job opening was posted in-house, and Heston was the only officer to apply for the position.

“It will be a new day. We will give him a lot of support, and surround him with the kind of encouragement and support that he needs,” Samuelson said.

Heston got his start in law enforcement after a 23-year career in the Navy that ended in 2002. He completed the Reserve Police Academy as an Island County Reserve Deputy Sheriff in 1992 while still on active duty, and joined the Langley department as a reserve officer in 1997.

He was a reserve officer for eight years in the Village by the Sea, and has been an officer for the past seven. Heston has previously stepped in as acting chief during Herzberg’s vacations.

Heston is expected to be sworn in later this month, but would not assume his new position until Herzberg retires.

He acknowledged he has a tough act to follow.

“It’s like an infant standing in his dad’s boots,” Heston said. “When I graduated from high school in 1979, he was already on the job for a year.”

Heston said he was eager to take on the new role.

“I love the people here in Langley,” he said.

“We meet people who are having the worst day of their life,” Heston added. “It’s fun to see the look on people’s faces when you help them. When they are in a jam, don’t know what to do, and they are having a meltdown, and you provide common sense and solutions to a huge problem.”

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