Letter to the Editor: Council should take filling chief of police position seriously and not look for a cheap, easy way to fill it
The City has appointed an interim Police Chief. I hope he does well in the short-term assignment. The word Interim, means an intervening time, it is not a permanent assignment.
I truly hope that the City Council and City Management will use an independent, professional process to permanently fill the Police Chief position. The chief of police is an executive officer in government. They ensure that the day-to-day activities of the police department are carried out. A chief should display a solid track record of treating people of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic differences with fairness. The chief is a liaison to the public, and should be a proven leader, as such the chief must have a proven ability to lead people, not just manage them. It is important that candidates for the police chief position can develop alternatives and solve problems.
A professional process includes advertising the position outside the agency and collecting resumes. (This does not preclude the interim chief from applying) The applications are narrow down to 5-7 applicants to participate in the interview process. Most agencies use an “assessment center” which includes several different interview panels. The members of the interview panel(s) usually include a City Council member and other department heads. There are separate interview panels that consist of neighboring police chiefs and community members. The Human Resources Director is involved in the process. Once the interviews are conducted, the applicants may be narrowed down to 2-3 finalists to have a final interview with the City Manager.
A public reception should be held where all the candidates get to meet residents. The City should seek feedback from the residents on each candidate.
The successful candidate should possess skills in communications and strategic and critical thinkings. They should have a proven record of high integrity, job competency, be inspiring and forward-looking. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in Police Administration, Criminal Justice, or related field. Most important, have experience at a command level.
This does not have to be an expensive process. The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police offers free Technical Assistance to law enforcement agencies statewide in a variety of areas including assistance with selecting a new Chief of Police. There are also companies in Colorado that will do the whole process for the City, which would be money well spent. In my 22 years as a police chief I have seen this process select successful police chiefs in small agencies all over our state.
The Police Chief is an extremely important position to the City and the Craig community. The Council should take filling this position seriously and not look for a cheap, easy way to fill it. That would be an injustice to the community. This community deserves the best possible candidate!
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