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Wilkinson emerged as the top candidate through a three month search and testing process undertaken by the City following the resignation of former police chief Mike Brown, who returned to Kansas following illness of some close family members. Wilkinson officially accepted the position on Tuesday. Wilkinson has been the City of Litchfield's Chief of Police since 2002. Prior to his employment in Litchfield, he served in several law enforcement positions with the Mills Police department in Natrona County, Wyoming, including Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain. In addition to his duties as Police Chief in Litchfield, he served for seven months as an interim cityadministrator and for six years as an Adjunct Professor at the Lincoln Land Community Collegein Litchfield. Wilkinson has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Virginia WesleyanCollege and is also pursuing his Masters in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration.His professional and community affiliations are extensive (see attachment), including beinghonored with the Natrona County "Peace Officer of the Year" and the Litchfield Chamber ofCommerce "Outstanding Community Service" honoree in 2012.
"We had an exceptional field of candidates that wanted to serve as the Sidney Police Chief. Wefeel very fortunate so many outstanding law enforcement officials wanted to lead our departmentand become a part of our community that has such an exciting future ahead of it. Chief Wilkinson's 11 years of experience as a Police Chief and 20 years in a management or mid-management law enforcement capacity were keys to his selection. His testing results certified by the Civil Service Commission and interview scores before a panel of community leaders were exceptional. In checking out his work record, references and noting his extensive volunteer service, all were as good as advertised. I am 100 percent confident he will bring the leadership and management skills that will lead our department in the right direction," Person said. "I am also greatly indebted to our department's command officers during this interim process and the work by Assistant Chief Joe Aikens as our acting Chief."
Wilkinson manages 24 full-time employees, including sworn and civilian staff, with an annualoperating budget of $1.5 million. The Sidney Police Department has 14 sworn officers, two civilian employees and an operating budget of $1 million. "After living several years in this part of the country when he was in Wyoming, and having two grown sons that also live in our region, his career goal has been to return to this area of the country. He also recognizes the exciting growing future in front of Sidney with several million dollars of development projects moving forward. He's excited to be here and we're excited to have him join our team," Person said. "I'm excited and challenged to be the new Chief of Police in Sidney. For many years I've traveled through Sidney in route to visit family, and have often commented how wonderful I thought it would be to have a chance to be the Chief there. I've always been impressed with the community, the development and growth there, and the sense that as a community the citizens, City government and the business partnerships have a real investment in the quality of life for those who live and work there," Wilkinson said. "My police career began working in the west, and I'm excited to return to the geography and culture there. I look forward to working with the City team as Sidney continues to grow and thrive, and I'm in hopes I can contribute as both the Chief and as a citizen. I believe there are great things happening in Sidney, and I want to be part of them. "You'll find that my style is straightforward and honest, and I value contacts with every person I meet. I take my role as a public servant seriously, understanding that it is the job of any police agency to make people feel safe and secure in the places where they live, work, learn and worship. We won't always agree, and you won't always like what I have to say -- but I'm willing to listen, consider, and then pick a course of action," he said. Wilkinson plans to begin work full-time with the Sidney Police Department the last week of July. He will likely be in the community for a relocation visit prior to then, when we will introduce him to the community.