Former Sequim police chief takes job in Louisiana

Sequim Gazette staff

Robert Spinks, former Sequim police chief and general manager at public radio station KSQM 91.5 FM, has accepted a job as police chief at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., in the southwest part of the state.


He’ll oversee safety for the university that educates nearly 9,000 students.


Spinks wrote via e-mail that McNeese State was attractive to him on several levels.


“The senior management of the university is a great team and that’s important for any organization that you plan to stay with,” he said.


“You want that shared vision, strategic plan and commitment to do great things together – I got that feeling at MSU.”


Spinks has worked in the college setting for 20 years throughout his career, and since 2010 he’s taught part-time.


“Why not combine the two things I love the most, other than radio, but law enforcement and teaching?” he asked. “The university environment allows me to meld the things I like most.”


He’s lived on the West Coast his whole life but said he’s been approached several times for positions in the Midwest, South and on the East Coast and his travels have opened his eyes.


His tenure lasted from 2005-2010 in Sequim. He resigned in May 2010 as police chief after City Manager Steve Burkett asked him to do so because of Burkett’s differing approach to managing the city.


Since resigning, Spinks said he’s worked with national recruiters to find a new position. The former police chief was a runner-up for the police chief position in Columbus, Miss., in late 2011.


He’s found many police chiefs are holding onto their positions due to the economy, so he’s seen limited opportunities in Washington.


In between job searches, he’s been active with KSQM. Spinks’ radio show the “Five-O Radio Show” might continue with Bob Rhoads and new station executive director and general manager Bob Schilling, a former executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, and a retired sergeant with the Washington State Patrol.


McNeese State is moving forward with its own FM radio station that Spinks is looking forward to participating in later on while continuing to listen to KSQM online.


Asked to reflect on his time in Sequim, Spinks said he was proud of helping preserve the Senior Meal Program, stopping drug dealers, being a board member and participant in multiple local nonprofits and the Olympic Peninsula Retired Fire Fighters and Police Officers Association.


He also enjoyed teaching at Peninsula College and working for the City of Sequim as police chief and interim city manager.


Spinks and his wife, Connie, intend to visit family in Sequim and across Washington.
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