Police Advisory Board makes recommendation for new police chief; Aldermen interview another option

Linda Trest

A Police Advisory Committee  was appointed to help hire a new police chief for the city. Former Chief Steve Goodwin resigned Sept. 15. 

After weeks of meetings, preparation and discussion, the committee culled possible applicants and chose three to be interviewed. Those interviews took place last week with committee members, the mayor and aldermen present. 

Angie Koepke who serves as chair of the committee says one candidate was scored well above the others by all members of the committee. After the interviews were concluded, the committee discussed the results and made a unanimous recommendation to the board to hire candidate B. 

The committee was then thanked and excused from further service, according the City Clerk Jane Hungler. The aldermen remained in the room for private discussion. 

An interview was set up for a fourth candidate Monday evening. The Police Advisory Committee was not notified or invited to attend the interview. 

Background checks on the other three candidates that were interviewed were ordered immediately. Hungler says she ordered a background check on the fourth candidate Tuesday. The checks will be conducted by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and could take a couple of weeks, according to Hungler. 

While waiting for the check results, references are being checked. 

Once the results of the background checks are received, the city will call one or all of the candidates back for a second interview. 

After a final selection is made, a conditional employment offer letter will be sent to  the selected candidate, pending results of drug testing. 

Hungler says the board hopes to have a chief in place by the beginning of December. 

While “Police Chief” is listed under new business for Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen it does not mean a decision will be announced. It will merely be an announcement to the public on the status of the search. 

Hungler says once the new chief is in place, interviewing will begin for a new lieutenant and officers. 

Until then, the Gerald Police Department is still operating with two officers.