Gordon Leslie Wiborg Jr., a 25-year law-enforcement veteran, was named the new police chief of Snohomish yesterday. "I think he's going to be a wonderful fit for Snohomish," said...

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Gordon Leslie Wiborg Jr., a 25-year law-enforcement veteran, was named the new police chief of Snohomish yesterday.

“I think he’s going to be a wonderful fit for Snohomish,” said City Manager Larry Bauman, who led the search for a “strong team builder.”

Wiborg, 49, is currently a captain and second-in-command at Florida’s North Palm Beach Department of Public Safety. He has worked as a SWAT team trainer and commander, an undercover narcotics officer, a juvenile-crime detective and a canine handler and trainer.

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“I’m thrilled to become a part of such a great organization,” Wiborg said in a phone interview from his Florida office. “And I’m looking forward to working with the fine people there.”

A Minnesota native, Wiborg embarked on his career in law enforcement as a patrol officer in Fairmont, Minn., where he served for six years before joining the Army. He was honorably discharged in 1989 after six years in the armed forces.

Wiborg returned to policing as a patrol officer in Hopkins, Minn., and was promoted to division commander. He then relocated to North Palm Beach.

A self-described outdoorsman, Wiborg, who has relatives in the Pacific Northwest, added that he’s “enamored by the forests, the rivers and the mountains.”

He said he is excited about living in Snohomish. “The sense of community really struck me,” said Wiborg, who is coming to town next week to look for a house.

Bauman said he was pleased that Wiborg liked Snohomish.

“He’s got a consummate level of skill and experience and really the right attitude for a small community,” Bauman said. “He appreciates the closeness of personal relationships — he just intrinsically understands a town of our size.”

Wiborg was one of four finalists; the others were Alan Baker, assistant chief of police of Wisconsin’s Racine Police Department ; William Card, captain and second-in-command of California’s Capitola Police Department ; and Charles Macklin, deputy chief in Snohomish and interim chief since this summer.

The seat became open when the city terminated former Police Chief Rob Sofie’s contract in June. Macklin then stepped in as interim chief.

Bauman would not comment on why Sofie was let go, but some residents cited the department’s high turnover during his tenure — 14 officers left the department of about 20 officers during the past five years.

The City Council is scheduled to authorize an annual salary of $82,500 for the new chief on Tuesday. Wiborg is expected to begin his term Jan 10.

The new chief will take charge of Snohomish and nearby areas; manage 19 commissioned officers, several full-time staff members and part-time police cadets; and oversee the department’s $2.7 million budget for 2005.

Judy Chia Hui Hsu: 425-745-7809 or jhsu@seattletimes.com