Three finalists to be the city of Hillsboro’s new police chief turned out for a Dec. 11 open house held in the Event Room at the Hillsboro Main Library. The two-hour event was an opportunity for the remaining three candidates — Lee Dobrowolski, David Kirby and Brian Martinek — to meet with the public and give local citizens an opportunity to get to know them.

“The open house was a great opportunity to engage the community in the recruitment process,” said City Manager Michael Brown. “We greatly appreciate the feedback from residents who took time to meet and get to know the Police Chief candidates. We highly value public input, and it’s one of the many factors helping us to make the best decision.”

“We have made every effort to include employees and the public in this recruitment process. It’s important to us to have as much public participation as possible,” added Robby Hammond, Hillsboro’s director of human resources.

Just two days after the open house, the number of finalists was reduced to only two as Hillsboro City Manager informed David Kirby, undersheriff of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, that he was no longer being considered.

“We’re getting down to the end. It has been a fantastic process,” said Steve Greagor, Hillsboro’s assistant city manager.

The two remaining candidates, Martinek and Dobrowolski, both have had lengthy and distinguished careers in law enforcement.

Martinek is currently the executive director of the Northwest Regional Re-Entry Center of the Portland Police Bureau and has a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State University, while Dobrowolski serves as deputy chief of the Salt Lake City Police Department, and has a master’s degree in business administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Dobrowolski said he flew from Salt Lake City to Portland on Tuesday, the day before the Dec. 10 open house, and then flew out Thursday so he could go back to work Friday.

“I thought the open house went really well,” Dobrowolski said. “I got to meet the council members who are representatives of the citizens and learn what their feelings are, and learn what’s important to the council members. Another thing we did was to answer questions of many employees of the police department. It was very informative to know their concerns and expectations.”

Lt. Mike Rouches, spokesman for the Hillsboro Police Department, said department personnel met with all three candidates before Kirby was eliminated from the process.

“The officers asked all kinds of questions, from the candidates’ opinions of beards to police cars,” Rouches said. “Generally, I’m hearing that the officers are pleased with this trio and their ability to lead, which is very telling in the quality of these guys and their thoughtfulness.”

Dobrowolski said when he learned of the opportunity to possibly serve as Hillsboro’s police chief, he made a trip to the community.

“My wife and I came up to visit Hillsboro before I even submitted my resume, to see if the community was one we could be happy with,” he explained. “I had visited Hillsboro 20 years ago as a member of the Air Force and fell in love with the area. This opportunity presented itself, and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Shaun Starr, one of the citizens who came to the open house to meet with the three candidates, said the choice the city makes is critical to the entire community.

“We’ve seen where good leadership and good programs can make a significant difference in neighborhoods,” said Starr, who has lived in the city since 1991. “It’s critical to have the right person for the role of police chief.”

Starr was disappointed more people didn’t show up to get to know the candidates, one of whom will soon be heading the Hillsboro Police Department.

“I wish Hillsboro had a better sense of community,” Starr said. “It concerns me with the low turnout. This is important.”

“The showing was a little sparse,” Dobrowolski said. “But you can take that one of two ways. There’s apathy, or things are going darn good and citizens trust the decision-makers. I’d like to think it’s the latter.”

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