Calling Nampa Police Department employees together Wednesday was a tough moment for Craig Kingsbury, who will mark his 24th anniversary with NPD in December.
“I’m not necessarily an emotional guy, but that was an emotional time,” Kingsbury told the Statesman. After 21 months as Nampa’s chief, he needed to tell his staff he plans to leave around the first of the year to lead the Twin Falls Police Department.
About the same time, Twin Falls officials were announcing the hire, which is not yet final but conditioned on Kingsbury passing a background check.
"It's a very hard choice,” Kingsbury said Wednesday evening. “I wasn't really looking to leave the city of Nampa."
Former Twin Falls chief Brian Pike, now the deputy city manager of public safety, was helping lead the search for a new chief and reached out to Kingsbury, whom he’s known since the 1990s, to seek advice and to ask if he knew any good candidates, the Twin Falls Times-News reports.
Kingsbury said he’d been working with Pike trying to help Twin Falls find a new chief since last spring, and “as we continued those conversations, it really just became apparent to me they were looking for somebody who had the skill set I have.
“We had lunch around the end of September, and it was during that discussion I decided this was something I was interested in," he said.
In Nampa, Kingsbury heads a department of 165 employees and earns a salary of $104,500. The Twin Falls department has about 100 employees, and advertised the chief’s job with a salary range of between $85,500 and $123,000.
Asked about his decision to move to the smaller department, Kingsbury said he’d like to help the city meet the challenges of growth and change.
"The city of Twin Falls and the Twin Falls Police Department are at a point where we were several years ago in Nampa, just on the cusp of that boom that Nampa had," he said.
The Nampa and Twin Falls police departments are similar in structure and they’re two of five cities in the state with their own communication centers, Pike told the Times-News, so Kingsbury understands the dynamics of the Twin Falls department.
"We’re transitioning from a small to a midsize department in the state, and Craig will be a good fit for the next five to 10 years,” Pike said.
Twin Falls leaders said Kingsbury is their top pick from among seven finalists. Pike will conduct a background check Friday that is expected to include an interview with Nampa Mayor Bob Henry as well as other Nampa city officials, the Times-News reports.
Mayor Henry issued a statesment Wednesday evening saying, “I’m excited for Chief Kingsbury.”
“Craig has done an excellent job for Nampa and I know he’ll be stellar in Twin Falls as well,” Henry said. “I understand he was asked to apply for the position and encouraged to replicate what has been done in Nampa. That’s a compliment to our city and to Chief Kingsbury. If we do lose Chief Kingsbury to Twin Falls, I will begin the process to replace him immediately.”
Kingsbury has been chief of police in Nampa since January 2013. He succeeded LeRoy Forsman, who served as chief for about a year.
This is Twin Falls' second search for a new chief this year, the Times-News reports. In March, the city announced it would start the search over after the two leading candidates withdrew.The department has been led by interim Chief Bryan Krear since Jan. 1.