The search for a new Richland police chief is down to six finalists, and those finalists will be in town next week for testing and a meet-and-greet with city leaders and community members.
More than 26 law enforcement officers submitted applications for the chief's post and 11 were selected for interviews, said Gordon Beecher, Richland's human resources director. One interview was done in person, one via Skype and the other nine through video conferencing.
The six finalists were selected after the interviews and they will be participating in "assessment centers" March 29-30, Beecher said. Waldron & Co., a Seattle-based human resources consulting firm, has been hired to help conduct the search.
During the assessment centers, the candidates will go through simulations -- for example, making a presentation or dealing with irate citizens -- and a group interview that includes two people from the city and one person from Waldron.
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Community members also will be involved in evaluating the candidates in some of the simulations, Beecher said.
On March 29, the finalists will get to meet city council members and community members at a reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Richland Public Library's gallery room.
Beecher declined to identify the finalists, but said citizens can attend the reception to meet the candidates. He said two of the finalists are from Washington and the others are from Oregon, California, Delaware and Texas.
"We've got great candidates," he said. "All 11 were qualified. We're very pleased with what Waldron has done for us."
After the six candidates complete their visits next week, the evaluations and comments will be passed on to City Manager Cindy Johnson, who could select a chief or narrow it down again to a top two or three.
Beecher said city officials likely will make visits to the candidates' hometowns and run background checks before a job offer is made. Officials hope to have a new chief on board by mid-May, he said.
City officials have been searching for a new top cop since former Chief Tony Corsi announced his retirement last fall. His last day was Jan. 28, and Capt. Mike Cobb has been serving as interim chief.