Cheney Free Press -


Cheney Police promote Chad Estep to patrol sergeant

Move made possible through school district funding of school resource officer; department force remains at 14 officers


John McCallum

With Sgt. Kelly Hembach's salary and benefits covered by the Cheney School District, the Cheney Police Department was able to promote Chad Estep to the rank of patrol sergeant.

Cheney Police Department officials have announced the promotion of Officer Chad Estep to the rank of Patrol Sergeant, effective Feb. 25.

Originally from Colfax, Estep has over 16 years of law enforcement experience, of which two and a half have been with Cheney since a lateral transfer from the Lynnwood Police Department. He was also Cheney Police's Officer of the Year in 2012, the first officer to receive the award.

Police Chief John Hensley said the promotion was made possible through an arrangement between the department and the Cheney School District to provide a school resource officer. The district wanted Sgt. Kelly Hembach to continue in that role, and the city then insisted they cover his salary and benefits, which are more than a police officer.

"The school district agreed and we made the move with the intention of replacing Kelly's spot (patrol sergeant) as soon as practical," Hensley said in an email. "With the additional funding from the school district, we moved forward in promoting Chad."

Hensley said the move does not change the overall complement of Cheney's force, which stands at 14: eight officers, four sergeants, one commander and police chief. The rank of one sergeant will go away when Hembach retires and will be replaced by an officer. Hensley added the department could still continue on with another sergeant's position as SRO if the district would "make us whole in terms of salary and benefits."

Estep said his day-to-day shift responsibilities don't change too much as a sergeant, just incorporating more administrative work in the office. As a sergeant on the patrol shift he will be available to help provide guidance and direction should an officer encounter an unfamiliar or more difficult than normal situation.

"I'm a big believer in you've got to let the guys work themselves through it," Estep said.

Estep will also be more involved in the decision making process within the department. Instead of before where he gave his opinion on issues to a sergeant, who then relayed those up the chain of command, Estep will now be able to do that directly.

"It's the reason I took the job, to be able to serve the guys," he said. "It will be somewhat of a challenge. I'm hoping to make a positive difference."

John McCallum can be reached at

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