There were five final candidates to be the new Missoula Chief of Police after Mike Brady announced his retirement in November, and Mayor John Engen announced on Wednesday that the choice is Jaeson White from California.

White told KGVO News last week that he had four years of experience as a probation officer and then spent the next 28 years with the California Highway Patrol.

Mayor Engen spoke of White’s qualifications to be the new Chief of Police.

“Jaeson White is currently an assistant chief with the California Highway Patrol,” said Engen. “We interviewed five folks. We had an interview panel and they were all put though a bit of a ringer. They had opportunities to meet with police staff, the city staff, we did community forums, and Assistant Chief White was the candidate recommended to me by the interview panel. Also, based on feedback we received from more than 50 members of the police department, he was their choice and recommendation, as well.”

Engen said White shared his philosophy of what is known as ‘community policing’.

“So much of it is about communication,” he said. “It also involves visibility within the community and sharing interactions with the citizens we serve. That’s a tough job, because our officers have difficult work and they often deal with people in some cases on the worst day of their lives. The officer must be as professional and as compassionate as possible, even when we’re dealing with bad guys.”

Asked about why the city chose to open the position nationwide, Engen said there were several individuals within the police department who applied for the chief’s position.

“We had six internal applications for police chief , and Assistant Chief Hoffman was the only candidate to make it to that final round,” he said.

White, contacted at his California home, said he was thrilled to receive the call that he had won the job. His first day as the Missoula Chief of Police is scheduled for March 1.