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Fairbanks city council changes course, confirms Ron Dupee as new Police Chief

Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 9:11 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - After delaying a vote to confirm Fairbanks City Mayor Jim Matherly’s pick for a new police chief two weeks ago, the City Council has made Ron Dupee the new Fairbanks Chief of Police. By a unanimous vote, the six member council confirmed Dupee to the position at Monday night’s council meeting.

Dupee was appointed to the position by Matherly in February and was awaiting council approval before assuming the role as police chief. Dupee, who was one of 18 applicants to the position was serving as the acting deputy chief after former Chief Reeder left unexpectedly.

Dupee’s confirmation was stalled two weeks ago as council members voted to hold an executive session to further review his qualifications after some in the community raised concerns about the fairness of the process to hire a chief. Councilwoman Valerie Therrien put forward a motion to delay the vote and said at the time, “I think there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the process by which the mayor chose the chief of police position, and I feel that this city council needed to be able to talk about that.”

Councilman Lonny Marney was the lone member to not vote to delay but he had planned on not confirming Dupee saying he felt there was a better candidate. At Monday’s meeting he had changed his tune.

“He is a good candidate... Watching him tonight, looks like he likes his staff, get’s along well with everybody, so uh, I do have a change of mind. I think he would be a great police chief,” Marney said.

During the meeting Dupee took questions from some of the council members regarding issues ranging from use of deadly force to budgets.

Councilman Jim Clark, who voted to delay his confirmation, says that he regrets his vote.

“I think that you’re an outstanding person, I have talked to friends that are close to you and they hold you in the highest regards,” Clark said. He went on to say that they should have voted yes or no at the last meeting.

Dupee spoke in an interview after the meeting and said that he was happy about the vote.

“It’s finally over, it’s still kind of hard to believe, but I am very honored and humbled to be here today,” the new chief said. Dupee said he cares about the city and the department and wants the best for them.

He said his first act as the new chief will be to make Rick Sweet his deputy Chief. Sweet who is a lieutenant at the department had been serving as the acting chief for the last few months and was one of the finalist for the position of Chief. After the meeting Dupee and Sweet embraced each other. Sweet had spoken two weeks ago in favor of confirming Dupee as chief.

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