Aug 4, 2017 - By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff WriterRiverton's interim police chief, Eric Murphy, was sworn in Tuesday night as the permanent replacement to Mike Broadhead, who left the Riverton Police Department on April 1.
Both Broadhead and former city administrator Steven Weaver left their posts within a month, and the city had vowed not to hire a permanent police chief until Weaver was replaced.
"Well, here we are," interim administrator Courtney Bohlender said at Tuesday's city council meeting, acknowledging the diversion from original plans.
Delaying a permanent appointment any longer, Bohlender said, would only do RPD a disservice.
"Interim positions can be very, very difficult," she said. "We can't have leadership that waivers."
Since he took the post in April, Bohlender said Murphy has improved relations between police and administrators.
There was "a definitive barrier between police and administration" in previous years, she said, with "perceptions on both sides of the hall" over who was to blame.
"I've seen more officers on our side of the hall in the last five months than in the last 10 years," she said. "That's what Eric Murphy has brought to the city of Riverton."
After taking his oath of office, Murphy teared up while hugging his wife and then shaking the hands of Riverton council members.
Bohlender said Murphy is one of only two officers -- the other being Capt. Todd Byerly -- in the city's history to attend the FBI National Academy. Mayor Lars Baker said it's also helpful that Murphy is "fondly viewed in our community."
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