It's official: Personett is Juneau's new police chief

Posted: Friday, September 10, 1999

Veteran officer Mel Personett has been selected as the new chief of the Juneau Police Department, City Manager Dave Palmer announced today.

Personett, previously assistant chief, has 22 years experience with the Juneau Police Department as of next month.

Lt. Ron Forneris, who has worked with Personett for two decades, said he was ``delighted'' in the choice of new chief.

``He has been a loyal and very capable assistant chief, and I think he will carry on in a vein that we have been moving forward in,'' Forneris said. ``I think we will see nothing but improvement upon what JPD has already done.''

Personett replaces former Chief Richard Gummow, who held the position since 1993 and left the post earlier this summer.

There were five finalists for the chief's position, each with more than 20 years of experience.

``So it was no surprise that the final scores of all candidates were grouped very close together,'' Palmer said.

Personett was born in Bremerton, Wash., and moved to Juneau in 1957.

``I have worked with the people here in town for a long time and built up a lot of partnerships,'' he said. ``And that is real beneficial.''

The first thing Personett intends to do as chief is to fill two vacancies - the assistant chief's position, which he just vacated, and a captaincy.

``We need to get that senior staff on board to get our management team in place,'' he said.

His long-range plans include an increase in basic staff. For the past five or six years, he said, the department has been transforming from a response-based agency to a community policing system. To complete the transformation will require additional sworn officers, he said.

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