March 20, 2003
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Search for new police chief outlined

Two weeks after he announced that Police Chief Jim Miller had been placed on administrative leave, Village Manager Rob Hillard presented on Monday his plans for choosing Miller’s successor, which include some public participation.
Hillard’s nine-point plan includes the creation of a “broad-based” advisory committee “to assist” him in the selection of a new chief. The committee will consist of three to five people “representing various backgrounds and experience,” Hillard said in a memo outlining the search process. He also said that the advisory committee will include a representative of the Police Department.
During Village Council’s meeting March 17, Hillard called the committee a “very important” part of the search process, one, he said, that is “almost as important as the candidates and the selection.”
While Hillard noted that the actual hiring decision is his responsibility, he said the search would be an “inclusive” process.
Hillard said that local residents interested in serving on the committee should contact him at the Bryan Community Center, 767-1279 or
Earlier this month, the Village announced that Miller had been placed on paid leave on March 4 until he would officially retire on Sept. 3. At the time, Miller said that he decided to retire because of a difference in opinion between him and Hillard about how the Police Department should be managed.
Hired in 1993, Miller succeeded Wiley Sampson, who was also hired the same year but resigned after only a few months with the Village. Sampson succeeded the late Jim McKee, who served as police chief for 34 years.
Captain John Grote is serving as the interim police chief until a permanent chief is hired. So far, Grote appears not to be a candidate for the job. In an interview last Friday, he said that he was concentrating on “just running the department the best I can.”
“It truly isn’t something I dwell on right now,” he said of becoming chief.
Under Hillard’s search process, the advisory committee will have several responsibilities. It will work with the manager to prepare a list of attributes the next chief should possess, as well as prepare a set of interview questions to ask candidates and create an evaluation form to gather public input on candidates who will be interviewed publicly.
After advertising for the position for about 30 days, Hillard and the advisory committee will review the applicants and pick five to be interviewed by Hillard. Hillard will then narrow the field down to three candidates, who will participate in a meet-and-greet session with the advisory committee and the public. The three finalists will also meet with Council.
Hillard will then choose a “preliminary” police chief, who will be further scrutinized through a background check and a visit to his or her place of employment. If Hillard decides to hire the preliminary candidate, contract negotiation would begin. Otherwise, Hillard will reopen the selection process.
Responding to a question from Council member Hazel Latson, Hillard said Monday that his objective is to get a diverse group of candidates, saying, “I hope we can have that through our process.”
“I’m open to making sure that is in fact done,” he added.
Hillard, Latson and Tony Arnett, the Council president, said that there are methods through the application process to determine if the Village has a diverse pool of candidates. They also stressed that the Village would not set a specific number of minority candidates they hope will apply.
—Robert Mihalek