The search for the new chief of police for the Waxahachie Police Department has been narrowed down to nine candidates. The search for a new chief started in July after the retirement of chief Chuck Edge, who served the city for seven years.
“We have hired Strategic Governmental Resources. They specialize in finding employees for cities, usually heads of departments and city managers,” City manager Paul Stevens said. “We used them when we hired (fire chief) Ricky Boyd. We were pleased with the work they did there.”
Stevens said the position was advertised with SGR in August and received 41 resumes from candidates across the country. Assistant City Manager Michael Scott, Human Resources Director Gale Sims and Stevens reviewed the resumes and narrowed down the list. In the advertisement with SGR, city officials stated they were looking for a chief who is strong and visible leader, and is comfortable in uniform and enjoys being a part of the community professionally and personally. The city is also looking for a chief who can develop collaborative relationships with area law enforcement agencies and representatives, and attend and participate in professional associations.
Some of the education and experience city officials are looking for in the new chief is the education equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in criminology, police science, public
administration or a related field. A master degree is preferred. The chief has to have a minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible municipal law enforcement experience with five years of senior level command and administrative responsibility. The chief will also be required to have or the ability to obtain Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) certification and a TCOLE Master Police Officer Certification.
Stevens said the there have been a lot of impressive candidates with a wide range of experience that runs the gambit of the law enforcement profession.
Since narrowing down the search to nine candidates the city sent out questionnaires to the nine, which they have received back this week. In the questionnaire, candidates were asked about challenges they have faced, their philosophy on being a police chief and their management style.
Stevens said there is a possibility that the candidate list might be narrowed down further after reviewing the questionnaires. Stevens does anticipate that the first round of interviews will take place after the Thanksgiving holiday. The second round of interviews with the final three or four candidates is expected to take place in January, he said.
During this stage there will be a review board made up of Stevens, Sims, Scott, Boyd and a representative from the Waxahachie Police Department Association. In addition to the board there will be times for the public to meet with the candidates and ask questions during a meet and greet event in January.
Stevens said with the new police chief the city is looking for a chief with a vision of what the police department can be in the future.
“Chief Edge did such a great job, really stabilizing the department. He had to come right in and there were some disciplinary issues that had to be addressed. He spent a lot of time with that. He left the department in very good standing. So I think the department is set and poised to really move forward and do some great things,” Stevens said. “I think the next person not having to come in and do disciplinary actions, they can really hit the ground running and plan longterm for the department and build on the success that Chuck Started.”
Stevens said one of the large tasks that the new chief will undertake is the design and construction of a new police station for the department. This will provide the new opportunity to help shape the department and put their fingerprint on it, Stevens said.
Other areas the city wants the new chief to focus their attention on is traffic enforcement and community outreach.
“I think that traffic enforcement needs to be a big part. Chuck put some great things in place to put a traffic unit together. What has been difficult is that we have had turnover in the department,” Stevens said. “It seemed like that as soon as we got fully staffed we would lose an officers, so it has been hard to get everything together to do that. But traffic enforcement and community outreach are going to be two big things.”
Once a final candidate has been selected to be hired the candidate has to be approved by the city council. Stevens expects the new police chief start sometime in the first quarter of 2015.
Stevens said since Edge’s retirement in July, Interim Chief Mitch Bartley, Assistant Chief Dale Sigler and the rest of the command have done a great job in keeping the department running smoothly.
The Waxahachie Police Department is made up of 59 sworn officers and 17 civilians. The department’s operating budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year is $7.1 million. It is made up of administration, communications, investigations, operations and patrol. The department is also responsible for emergency management, animals control and mosquito vector control. The department has two assistant chief. With this position the city is offering a salary that ranges from $101,000 - $111,000 depending on qualification and experience.
For more information about SGR go to its website at www.governmentresource.com.