Rifle outlines schedule for police chief search | PostIndependent.com

Rifle outlines schedule for police chief search

Ryan Hoffman

Rifle is not wasting time when it comes to finding its next police chief.

A national search is underway following the departure of John Dyer, Rifle’s highly regarded former police chief who stepped down at the end of August in order to move closer to family in Washington.

In many ways the city is sticking with the search process that led to Dyer’s hiring.

The city retained Rainguet & Associates LLC, an executive search firm that was used in the last search process. The contract signed in early August will pay the firm no more than $9,900 for its services — a price that does not include out-of-pocket expenses such as advertisements and candidate travel. Those costs will be paid for by the city.

Applications will be accepted until Sept. 30, at which point the search firm will start narrowing the field to a number of finalists.

The advertisement for the position states “candidates should be skilled at developing collaborative community partnerships, proactive problem solving, and be able to recruit and train police personnel in community policing practices.”

Candidates also must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, as well as a minimum of 10 years experience, including five years of leadership experience at the rank of lieutenant or higher.

The position carries a beginning salary range of $86,500 to $97,350, according to the advertisement.

Under a working schedule outlined during a City Council workshop last week, the city expects to have a field of five or six candidates in town the week of Nov. 14. The hope is to have a new chief in place by the start of the new year.

The timing is strategic in that if the selected candidate has family and needs to relocate, he or she could do so during the winter break and not have to abruptly pull their children out of school, City Manager Matt Sturgeon explained.

The candidates will likely spend a good chunk of Friday, Nov. 18, with officers and staff members at the police department. Patrol Sgt. Sam Stewart, who is serving as acting chief, noted last week that the time spent with officers proved very valuable in the last search.

Later that evening, the city plans to host a public reception to give residents and others an opportunity to meet the candidates and provide feedback via comment cards.

Saturday will be the date for interviews with department heads and members of City Council. During that process, the city will likely involve one or several members of the Rifle Public Safety Citizen Advisory Board, a group created in 2014 that consists of residents and community leaders.

Several councilors suggested adding a component to involve the finalists’ spouses. The process is not just about selecting a candidate, the community must also sell the city to the next chief, said Councilor Ed Green.

That also would provide an opportunity to bring other community organizations, such as the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce, into the process, Councilor Theresa Hamilton added.

The suggestion was not vocally opposed by members of council or administrators present at last week’s workshop.

Without giving a specific suggestion, Hamilton also said she would like to see as much community involvement in the search process as possible, given Dyer’s extensive efforts in community policing.

Mayor Randy Winkler, the only current member of council who was involved in the last police chief search, issued a cautionary note, saying that involving too many people can muddy the process.

“What we did last time worked very, very well,” he said.

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