Mayor Nancy Backus announced Tuesday evening that she has appointed Daniel O’Neil to the position of interim chief for the Auburn Police Department.
Mark Caillier will continue to serve as assistant chief.
“I believe with this leadership team we have each leader aligned with their best strengths,” Mayor Nancy Backus said in a news release Wednesday morning.
O’Neil will serve as interim chief until at least June 30, 2020. Caillier had served as acting chief of the department in the aftermath of Chief William Pierson’s “separation” from the department, announced in a city new release Nov. 21.
Asked if Pierson was fired or if he had resigned, city Public Information Officer Kalyn Brady offered no further comment, saying that Pierson “has separated” from his position and that the decision “took place (Thursday) morning (Nov. 21).”
Backus and other city officials have not commented further on the top cop change.
Pierson spent 29 years with the department. He was named as chief in June of 2018 following the retirement of Bob Lee.
O’Neil began his law enforcement career in 1999 with Auburn. He spent his first 3½ years working primarily graveyard patrol. In 2003, he became a field training officer, which made him responsible for teaching academy graduates the practical application of state law, city ordinance and department policy and procedures. In 2005, O’Neil became a generalist canine handler, working with two separate dogs over six years.
In July of 2010, O’Neil was promoted to the rank of sergeant. As a sergeant, he was assigned to patrol, property crimes, special investigations and administrative services. O’Neil was promoted to commander in March of 2017.
O’Neil has a master’s degree in public safety executive leadership from St. Cloud State University (Minn.). He has a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Eastern Washington University and an associate of arts degree from Green River College. He has also completed the International Association Chiefs of Police, Leadership in Police Organizations course and recently graduated from the Auburn Chamber of Commerce South Puget Sound Leadership Institute.