Langley City Council to vote on new police chief

The city’s acting police chief may get a permanent promotion to the job.

The Langley City Council is expected to vote on the appointment of Randy Heston to the post at the council meeting Monday.

“I’m extremely thrilled to be offered the position,” Heston said.

“I love this community; I’ve been here for many years. It’s a great place to raise children,” he added. “I look forward to serving the citizens of Langley.”

Heston said he was grateful to work with a skilled and experienced group of law enforcement professionals.

“We have a great team of officers who work hard and provide an elevated level of service,” he said.

Heston was named acting chief after Bob Herzberg, the longtime leader of the police department, retired in March. His six-month appointment to the post was extended in August.

Heston, who had a 23-year career in the Navy that ended in 2002, joined the Langley department as a reserve officer in 1997. He moved into the regular officer ranks seven years ago.

The Langley Civil Service Commission met last week and voted 2-1 to recommend the promotion of Heston to the chief’s position.

The vote, however, reflected the long-standing concerns of one commission member over the process used to find Langley’s new police chief.

John Norby has lobbied other members of the commission to have an open, competitive search for a new chief.

That suggestion was opposed by Commission Chairwoman Jan Tepper, and a majority of the board interpreted the city’s civil service rules in a way that viewed the hiring of a police chief as a promotion.

Langley officials said the city attorney, and an outside attorney from the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington, agreed that the hiring of a chief was a promotion.

City officials noted that applications for acting chief were sought from employees in the Langley Police Department, and that Heston was the only one to step forward.

Norby has since resigned from the Civil Service Commission.

“The reason is mainly economic,” he said, sarcastically noting that the discussions of the hiring process with other board members left him feeling dirty.

“I’d go home and take these long showers. And the water bill is getting real high,” Norby said.

The city council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21 at city hall.

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