New city Police Chief candidate interviewed

City Council could opt for new hire as soon as Nov. 12

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

The process to hire a new Chief of Police in Coatesville took a step forward, Wednesday, as a single candidate was interviewed by the search committee, which recommended him to City Manager Kirby Hudson, who in turn expects to recommend the candidate to City Council later this month.

COATESVILLE — The long, winding process to find a new Chief of Police for the city took a step forward Wednesday, as a search committee interviewed a single candidate, who appears likely to be recommended to City Council later this month.

The Times and other media outlets were allowed to sit in on the interview on condition of not identifying the candidate. He is a command officer at a large police department, but The Times and other media outlets agreed to reveal no other identifying information, so as not violate privacy or disrupt the hiring process, which has already seen difficulty.

Still, after the failure to hire State Police Maj. John Laufer earlier this fall, city officials were upbeat after the interview, feeling that the process had delivered another excellent option. Should the process continue as expected, with council members meeting the candidate in executive session sometime in the next 10 days, City Council could be in position to formally name a new chief at its Nov. 12 meeting, and the new chief could be in place before year’s end.

“You don’t always get a second chance,” City Manager Kirby Hudson said afterward. “But I feel like the city got one here. As disappointed as I was about Maj. Laufer, this new candidate is exceptional.”

Previously, the search committee had settled on Laufer, but City Council could not muster enough votes to hire him at a Sept. 11 meeting.

Wednesday’s interview was a departure — instead of putting out another advertisement seeking a new chief, as done earlier, the law enforcement members of the search committee targeted specific candidates and recruited them. Wednesday’s interview candidate was the top selection of that process.

The one-hour interview covered a wide range of topics from the ongoing litigation involving the department, perceived racial divides in the police department, leadership questions and the interaction of the police department with the public and the media.

The committee interview was led by PECO executive Greg Cary, with William Lambert, president of Coatesville Area NAACP, City Human Resources Director Linda Gray, ex-State Police Maj. Tyree Blocker, Lancaster Police Chief Keith Sadler and East Whiteland Police Chief Eugene Dooley. City Council President David Collins and Council Member C. Arvilla Hunt sat in as non-voting members of the committee.

The voting members of the committee voted to recommend the candidate to the city.

The committee rejected the application of a second candidate — also unnamed by agreement — citing a failure of the candidate to meet the requirements listed for the position.

Interim chief James Bell has led the department since Aug. 27.

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One Comment

  1. James Dockett says:

    Hopefully they will hire this qualified candidate and bring the police department to a respectable status.

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