At a news conference at Yakima City Hall today, Yakima City Manager Cliff Moore announced he has selected Matt Murray to become the next Yakima police chief.
“Matt stood out among the five police chief candidates who came to Yakima last week because of the vast amount of experience he has gained during his long career in law enforcement, the significant breadth of responsibilities he has had serving in a variety of leadership roles, and his understanding and embracing of 21st Century Policing principles,” said Moore.
Murray, who is currently serving as a lieutenant in the Denver Police Department, was one of five police chief candidates who were interviewed by Moore and four separate panels last Thursday. The police chief candidates also participated in two “Meet & Greet” sessions last Friday – one with Yakima Police Department (YPD) staff and one with community members.
Murray must still pass psychological and polygraph testing and undergo a comprehensive background check before officially joining the City.
“Like the city manager, I have been impressed by Matt’s depth of experience in law enforcement,” Mayor Kathy Coffey said at the news conference announcing Murray’s selection as the next Yakima police chief. “I am confident (he) is well positioned to take the reins of the Yakima Police Department and to continue to grow the department’s reputation as an outstanding law enforcement agency.”
Murray began his career with the Denver PD in 1991 as a patrol officer. During his tenure at the Denver PD, Murray has also served as a sergeant in the Volunteers in Policing Unit, the Homicide Unit, and the Major Crimes Division. In 2008, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and oversaw the Patrol Division in one of Denver’s police districts. While serving as a lieutenant/chief of staff, Murray led an effort in 2009 to launch the department’s social media efforts to combat biased information that was being distributed about the Denver PD. In 2014, he became part of the Denver PD command staff serving as a police commander/chief of staff. About a year later, Murray was made a deputy chief of police/chief of staff by the Denver police chief.
Last year, Murray returned to his position as a lieutenant in the Denver PD.
Murray holds a bachelor of arts degree in management from the University of Phoenix and a master of science degree in organizational leadership from Regis University in Denver. He is also a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum.
Murray will succeed Dominic Rizzi, who held the Yakima police chief position from spring 2012 until fall 2018. Murray will oversee a department that includes about 190 total employees, both commissioned and non-commissioned. The total 2019 YPD budget is just over $30 million.
The tentative start date of Murray’s tenure as Yakima police chief is May 1st.