When Juneau’s new chief of police starts on Feb. 1 his approach will be to learn the department and build relationships rather than making any big changes.
Derek Bos, the newly named chief of the Juneau Police Department, took a few minutes Friday to talk about his new job, his philosophy of law enforcement and his general approach to what he said is already a “great” department.
“The staff is really engaged, very professional — wonderful people,” said Bos, who is leaving the position of chief of police at the Eagle Police Department in Eagle, Colorado, for this job.
A big challenge facing the new chief of police — shared by departments around the country — is recruitment and retention. JPD had 13 of 55 sworn positions vacant as of Oct. 9, or just under 24%.
“Obviously, recruitment is a big challenge,” said Bos. “While it’s a pressing need it’s better to learn the department and recruit as a team, not just have me come in saying I want to recruit.”
“Maybe there are things that will come up, but I want to step in and take my time and learn the department,” he added.
Bos, 46, started in law enforcement in 2006, when he became an officer with the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office in Chaffee, Colorado. He left the sheriff’s department in 2016, according to reporting by the Colorado Sun. Bos provided security consulting and training services until 2018, when he was hired as chief of the Brush Police Department. He joined the Eagle PD in December 2022.
Part of the interview process in Juneau included a public town hall, and a private meeting with JPD officers and staff.
At the Sept. 28 town hall, Bos said he would prioritize enhancing police and community relationships, saying the most important relationships police can have are with schools and local faith-based communities.
That comment has prompted some questions — and Bos offered insight into what he meant.
“I think in law enforcement, when we look at the institutional relationships between the police department and other entities in the community, schools and faith-based communities have to be at the top of the list,” he said. “As we look at trends and interactions those are some of the key ones with regard to building relationships with the community — that’s where I am going with that.”
Bos was asked if naming schools and faith-based communities in effect excluded other elements, such as the business community.
“I didn’t name the business community, but I think that falls into the watershed,” he said. “I think of it as a watershed effect, which starts and trickles down to different pieces.” Schools and faith-based communities are a starting point.
He gave generic examples of the Rotary Club and Lions Club. “There is a nexus back to school or back to faith-based community,” he said. “Start at the top — all of those relationships get us more involved with other diverse groups in the community. Same thing with schools. It trickles down to sports, rec department, theater and musical groups.”
But it wasn’t “to the exclusion of other groups. The opposite – it’s not exclusive at all. The goal is to reach every aspect of the community.”
The main point is community involvement, he said, including things like shift officers attending a baseball or basketball game.
JPD as a department is already engaged with the community, he said. “It’s just continuing that engagement, enhancing those relationships.”
He said a big part of the appeal of the job is the Juneau community, especially for his wife, Anna Bos. “There is such a strong sense of community,” he said. “It’s a bigger city with a small-town feel, a community where everybody looks out for each other.”
The Bos have three kids ages 14, 12 and 10, and everyone is excited about the move, he said. “It’s been a dream for a long time for all of us to go to Alaska,” he said.
“We’ve been to Southeast a few times and absolutely fell in love the first time we went. That hasn’t changed.”
• Contact Meredith Jordan at email@example.com or (907) 615-3190.