Salt Lake City Police Assistant Bureau Commander Bryce Johnson has been selected to head the Juneau Police Department.
City Manager Kim Kiefer announced Johnson’s hire Wednesday afternoon. He was one of three finalists for the job, who visited Juneau last month. They went through what’s known as an assessment center process, where they encountered situations like those they will deal with as chief. They were rated by criminal justice and public safety officials as well as the city manager.
Kiefer says the raters felt confident Johnson had the necessary experience and attributes to lead the 90-person department. She says he also was favored by Juneau Police Department staff.
Kiefer says Johnson was offered the position several weeks ago, but the announcement could not be made until background checks were complete.
Johnson has worked his way through the ranks at Salt Lake PD over the last 20 years, and says he is looking forward to the challenge of being a police chief in what he calls a “neat department.”
He says JPD is intriguing because of Juneau’s isolation.
“For a department that size, it has so many different things going on, from its own tactical SWAT team, its own explosive ordinance unit, its own dispatch center. Even though it’s smaller it still has all the same functions and that’s really one of the things that drew me to Juneau, because you got functions that other departments of that size just don’t have,” he said in a telephone interview with KTOO on Wednesday.
In addition to his police work, Johnson has been a Reserve Intelligence Specialist for the U. S. Naval Reserve, and taught criminal justice and law enforcement at Salt Lake City high schools. Johnson earned a bachelors’ degree in political science from the University of Utah and a Masters of Public Administration from Brigham Young University.
Johnson will be in Juneau next week to work with Chief Greg Browning, who is retiring at the end of the month. Johnson takes over the post on June 3rd.
The 57-year-old Browning came to the department 13 years ago from Amarillo, Texas, where he’d been on the police force for more than 20 years. He started in Juneau as assistant chief and took over as chief in 2006. Browning has said Juneau has been the “highlight of his career.”
JPD Assistant Chief Page Decker is also retiring at the end of the month.
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