A summary of William Pierson’s 28-year career with the Auburn Police Department tells the story of an officer who, through diligence, hard work, and his own innate abilities, rose through the ranks from rookie to command.
On Monday night at Auburn City Hall, with wife, Debbie, and daughter, Emily, looking on, Pierson was sworn in as Auburn’s new police chief by Mayor Nancy Backus.
“To receive an honor such as this is kind of a once-in-a lifetime event; it happens to very few people in this profession. What’s really honorable about it is to know that I have your support, and that you believe in my ability to do this job, and I thank you for that,” Pierson said to Backus and the Auburn City Council.
He thanked his wife for being his rock all of those years.
“To be a wife (or spouse) of a police officer is no easy task. You kind of take on the role of an officer yourself. You kind of live as police live, with all the stresses and trials and tribulations. You cannot do this job by yourself,” Pierson said.
Then he commended the police department he now leads.
“At this point in my 28-year career, I can say we have the best police department I have ever been a part of. People come and go, but right now we have the best chemistry I have ever seen,” Pierson said.
Pierson succeeds former Chief Bob Lee, who retired in late June.
Here’s is the course of one cop’s trajectory to the top, as summed up by Backus.
In 1990, the APD hired Pierson and assigned him to the patrol division, where he soon picked up a medal of distinction in field training. In 1993, he became the APD’s first community-policing bicycle officer. In 1994, he became a narcotics detective, and went on to serve for five years as a marksman with the SWAT team. In 1997, he was promoted to sergeant. to supervise a patrol shift and field training unit. In 1998, he became a certified firearms instructor, and in 2002 he took over as range master for firearms training.
Pierson was then promoted to a special investigations sergeant, in which capacity he supervised narcotics investigations, detectives investigating vice crimes, and headed up the inspectional services unit, in which position he obtained state and federal grants and investigated internal affairs issues.
In 2005, Pierson was promoted to commander and assigned to the patrol division, for which he managed seven sergeants, a field training unit, defensive tactics and firearms training. He was later reassigned to the support services division, where he managed the training unit, the community response team, DARE and accreditation.
Pierson earned his bachelor of science degree in sociology from Washington State University, with an emphasis on public policy, law and social control. He is a member of Auburn Kiwanis, a 2005 graduate of the Leadership Institute of South Puget Sound, a graduate of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Leadership and Police Organization and of the FBI’s National Academy.
“That speaks volumes about Bill’s leadership and his skills and his abilities to move around within the department and to learn all aspects of the department,” Backus said.