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A search for the next Springfield Police Chief is currently underway, and this week candidates participated in a public meeting. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has this report on the search process.
A special search committee is involved in the intensive hiring process for the next Springfield Police Chief. Overall, 64 qualified applicants for the position were considered from across the country. Mike Brothers is spokesperson for the city of Springfield, and says that there are several vital qualities the next police chief must have.
"I think the main thing they're looking for would be supervisory experience, leadership experience, and someone who knows how to lead a large and diverse department. We have over 300 officers when we are at full strength. Of course we're down right now. And that's another issue, they're going to be looking for someone who can lead our department back." Brother's said.
There are four finalists aspiring for the position. Brothers says that all four candidates have strong leadership and supervisory experience. Ron Hartman is the only internal candidate, and is acting as interim police chief. He has been with the department for over 20 years. Gary Maas is one of three out of town candidates and among his credentials, he’s previously led two different police departments. Paul Williams is a major from the Tulsa Police Department with over 20 years of supervisory experience. And Robert Dunlap served as assistant police chief in Detroit for more than 20 years.
Brothers says that the search process includes many steps that began with the search committee.
"The main component of the search process was a search committee headed by Assistant City Manager Collin Quigley. [The committee] included several citizens and several people with law enforcement experience, including Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott.A nationwide seach was conducted by this all-volunteer group, not an outside search firm." Brothers said.
Once search party members found potential candidates, they conducted in-depth telephone interviews. The four remaining candidates recently participated in a public meeting focused on interacting directly with the community. Brothers says that public involvement is so important in this type of hiring process.
"I think the main thing is that we're doing this process along the same lines as we would with any high profile hiring. And that's a public process. That's really the only way you can do this. That's why we had the meet-and-greet this week. That's why if there are any questions people have about anything, they [the candidates] can answer them themselves. [They can] look people in the eye and speak to them face-to-face." Brothers said.
The final decision ultimately falls to Springfield City Manager Greg Burris. It is estimated that the new Springfield Police Chief will be announced in the next few weeks. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.