The Juneau community will soon likely know who will be the next Juneau Police Department’s chief of police as finalists wrap up their meetings with community and city officials this week.
On Thursday evening finalist Derek Bos of Colorado held a town hall meeting to chat with residents and answer questions about why he wants to be the chief of police in Juneau. He’s one of two finalists vying for the position after it was announced Monday the third finalist withdrew from consideration citing personal reasons. The other finalist, Lt. Krag Campbell who has been with JPD since 2002, spoke Tuesday.
Bos currently serves as chief of police in the Eagle Police Department in Eagle, Colorado. He’s held the position since December of 2022. Prior to then, Bos held the position of chief of police for the Brush Police Department in Brush, Colorado, for four years. He also held multiple positions with the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office in Chaffee, Colorado.
On Thursday evening about 20 people showed up to his meeting. He was given the theme “transforming community-centric policing in Juneau in the digital age” prior to the meeting and tasked with giving a presentation about what he aims to do if selected as chief.
Throughout his hour-long presentation, Bos only briefly touched on technology — he pointed to the addition of drones, further utilizing social media, and upgrading current technologies like computers and body cameras — but spent his time speaking about what his approach would be if selected as chief.
Bos said he would prioritize enhancing police and community relationships, and building trust if selected. He said the two most important relationships police can have are with schools and local faith-based communities.
“Kids are the next generation of police, Assembly members and everything else in the community that supports the community,” he said and continued, “most of the people we interact with are not exactly friendly, they’re not always loving. But our faith-based communities are probably the one opportunity we have to interact with the most normal people in our communities and build those relationships.”
In recent years JPD has faced growing vacancies for both officer and dispatch positions. As of late July the department was reportedly down 14 officers from its 57 spots available and its dispatch center has a 33% vacancy rate.
Bos said recruitment begins with retention and “the best recruiters we have are the existing staff.” He said his first focus as chief would be retention. He also said he thinks there is room for growth in the number of officers and dispatchers that JPD currently holds at full capacity.
During his time in Brush, Bos was involved in a controversial and criticized arrest and prosecution of two school district administrators, charged with multiple counts of sexual exploitation after they collected explicit photos from minors as evidence while investigating a situation of sexting, according to reporting from the Colorado Sun. The charges were later dismissed by a judge and the administrators were reinstated.
On Tuesday he addressed the arrest after questions about it were brought up by multiple attendees. Bos said he stands by the decisions made throughout the process.
“My position, then and now, is that there is no justifiable reason for a school to keep nude semi-nude, scantily clad images of students on its computer system, especially where other staff can see it,” he said. “It was highly controversial, largely because of who those individuals were and community connections. I am very comfortable with how our department handled it.”
In an interview with the Empire afterward, Bos said he would be a better pick for the Juneau community over the other finalist, Campbell, because he is from the outside looking in and can bring a new perspective to the department.
“What I see of Juneau PD is it’s just very tiny,” he said. “Great people here, great organization, but burnt out entirely and tired. So by bringing somebody from the outside in, breathes life into your organization, it really helps you revitalize it.”
He said his current department does not know he is in Juneau and running for the position, but noted he is not “actively looking for a new job.” Rather, he said, this position was a “dream come true.”
Bos applied to be Petersburg’s police chief in 2018 and in Wrangell in 2019, but did not get either position.
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 528-1807.