Battle Ground City Manager Erin Erdman announced that Police Chief Bob Richardson will retire early next year after nine years with the Battle Ground Police Department. His final day of service is February 14, 2020.
Chief Richardson has served in law enforcement for nearly four decades. His career began with the Irvine Police Department where he served 30 years before coming to Battle Ground in January of 2011 to lead the city’s police department.
“I commend Chief Richardson for his leadership, professionalism and dedication to this community,” Erin Erdman said, “Under his direction the department has made tremendous strides in service and in relationships with the community. We are sad to see Bob go but wish him the best in retirement. He will be missed.”
Under Chief Richardson’s leadership, the department has placed special emphasis on building a solid relationship with the Battle Ground community through practiced values of integrity, quality service, respect and accountability. During his tenure, Chief Richardson has implemented a victim’s advocate program within the department and supported juvenile justice reforms including school based diversion and detention alternatives. His is a founding member and current co-chair of Prevent Together: Battle Ground Prevention Alliance, further demonstrating his advocacy for youth. He ensured that every police officer has access to AED’s, Naloxone, and the training to use these lifesaving tools. Chief Richardson expanded the less-lethal weapons systems, and the training for police officers in areas of mental health, adverse childhood experiences, and adolescent brain development, making officers better prepared for the challenges they face every day.
Chief Richardson was honored with an award from the Northwest Justice Forum and received the WA State Public Health Association’s Public Health Leadership Award for implementation of restorative justice practices within the Battle Ground Police Department.
To manage limited resources, Chief Richardson established several cost-saving measures. He moved the department toward a regional police records management system, privatized the court bailiff program, expanded digital evidence collection, and utilized other technologies to make the department more efficient during staff reductions.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve and be part of the Battle Ground community,” Chief Richardson said, “I have a great deal of respect for our police department personnel who, with limited resources, work hard on a daily basis to provide quality service to our community.”
To meet budgetary constraints Chief Richardson’s departure will not create an open position in the department, but rather a shift of existing personnel. City Manager Erdman will appoint Lieutenant Mike Fort to the position of Chief after Chief Richardson’s departure in February. In order to maintain the current level of patrol officers, the lieutenant position will not be replaced.
“Lieutenant Fort’s experience coupled with his close working relationship with the Chief and the community prepares him well for this transition,” said Erdman, “He looks forward to lead the department and serve the community in his role as Chief of Police.”
Mike Fort was hired by Chief Richardson in January of 2018. He is a 28-year veteran of law enforcement, having served the Portland Police Bureau for 26 years and is a 2016 graduate of the FBI National Academy. He brings wide-ranging experience and leadership to the Battle Ground Police Department and has been a resident of north Clark County for 15 years.
The mission of the Battle Ground Police Department is to work in partnership with the community to provide the highest level of service while protecting the peace and upholding the law with fairness. The department consists of 25 sworn officers, four records and support staff and operates on an annual budget of $4.6 million. The Department prides itself on its values of Integrity, Quality Service, Respect and Accountability.