Your chief wish list

It looks like Chapel Hill may end up being more deliberate in hiring a new police chief than they were hiring a new manager last year. From a recent Chapel Hill town news notice:

What qualities do you want in a new police chief? This is the question to be posed in a series of focus groups for citizens, the Council, staff and the police department.

The focus groups are being held to gather early input that will help develop community criteria for the police chief. Those criteria will be used to assess the skills of candidates for the position.

Interested citizens may attend any of the following meetings to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, at Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Drive; and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, at Hargraves Community Center, 216 N. Roberson St.
- Public Input Sought on Police Chief Search

Other than what was recently called "better-than-can-reasonably-be-expected service", what qualities should we be seeking in Chapel Hill's next police chief?



As a point of reference, below is the Town's statement of qualifications ; not a bad set of qualities:

"The successful candidate must have demonstrated the ability to lead a police organization in a community that welcomes the diversity of people, ideas, and cultural norms. In addition to impeccable integrity, ethics and a proven history of values-based leadership, the candidate must possess the following: A bachelor's degree in public administration or closely related field - a Masters degree or an equivalent combination of advanced police executive education and experience is preferred. A minimum of five (5) years of increasingly responsible command-level experience. A variety of management and command experiences and a demonstrated knowledge of operational, administrative, cultural and technological issues and solutions pertinent to 21st century policing. A demonstrated commitment to community outreach and partnerships. A proven ability to lead, coach and mentor subordinates. A commitment to organizational effectiveness established through team-building techniques, innovative and critical development of ideas and solutions, excellent interpersonal skills and mutual trust. Certification as a law enforcement officer in North Carolina or the ability to attain such certification in a reasonable amount of time after appointment."

I think this is a great process.

In fact I suggested it to some extent in a column shortly after the conclusion of the manager search:

From the July 1st Herald

"When it came to engaging citizens in the selection of a new leader, Chapel Hill could learn some lessons from Ann Arbor, though.

For instance, while trying to develop a profile for the new manager, Chapel Hill invited about 30 citizen activists to a Saturday morning meeting to give their feedback at Town Hall.

Ann Arbor, on the other hand, had several well-publicized meetings at a variety of different times and locations that the entire community was invited to for the purpose of stating what it wanted in a superintendent. This was a better way of encouraging people to get involved."

I'm sure the town didn't do it because of my column :) But I'm glad they are.

Actually I don't see this as a progression from the town manager experience.

The town manager is important, but I believe there is a lot more on the line with a police chief. Several communities have done these community gatherings for chief hirings where they have not for managers.

Hope they find someone who will stay a while.

I want a police chief who is committed to civil liberties. In other words, he or she will make sure that the Bill of Rights is adhered to zealously. I assume I don't have to spell out that I mean freedom of speech, no searches without warrants, etc.

I would like a police chief who understands that law enforcement is not the answer to all problems in our community. Sheriff Pendergrass told me that the biggest problem he has is the lack of mental healthcare. Many troubled people end up being treated as criminals rather than as people who need treatment.

-- ge

I seem to remember that in the US the average tenure of a police chief was under four years. Chief Jarvies has been chief for seven and in the department for 31.

What's the ideal tenure?

"If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts!
Play games, all sorts.

You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets

Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water..."


“If you want this choice position,
Be mindful of Tar Heal tradition
Police Festfall, Pa-rades
No stings, No raids!

Please be tough, but not a bully
Defend our mascot, who is wooly
Don't get flabby in your gut
Stay away from Duncan Donuts

You'll work long hours with no cheating
Crowd control at public meetings
Love us like your favorite uncle
And we won't treat you like a numbscull..."

Maybe OP should sponsor a poetry contest about local issues. I bet there's a lot of funny stuff that would come out and would be hilarious to ask candidates to do it in election years.

The forum tonight at the Hargraves Center had a couple dozen participants (each of the other two citizen sessions had two each) and the group produced three dozen "qualities, skills and abilities" that they desired. Ones that stood out included being fair, ensuring that his department members were also fair, polite and respectful, and knowing the various communities and their needs and getting the resources where they were needed.

As one speaker said, it should be no surprise why this session drew the largest group of participants.


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