The PFC is looking to replace Chief Nobel Wray, who retired on Sept. 27, after almost a decade in the post. The commission, unlike when it hired Wray and current Fire Chief Steven Davis in January 2012, will look outside the city. This does not mean, however, that the next chief will be an outsider, says commission attorney Scott Herrick.
"We expect, we're counting on, having applications from inside the department and there are very strong candidates from within the department," Herrick says.
In public hearings, many people told the commission to look outside the department for its next chief, Herrick says, which the commission responded to.
"Some people who are very critical of the department said we should look outside the department," he says. "At the same time, people who are very proud of the department [also] say... we should have an open search."
The timing of the application process is still up in the air. The commission will have to develop a detailed timeline and application in the next few weeks. The application will be considerably more detailed than if the search were closed and the commission was only looking at candidates who had long histories with the department, Herrick says. The commission will advertise in national media as well as police journals and websites, he says.
Herrick doesn't know how long the advertising period will last but adds, "I don't know that it will require more than 30 days."
He doubted the commission would be able to do interviews before the end of the year. "We haven't figured that out yet, but realistically if you look at a calendar with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming... it's hard to think we'd get to interviews before early January," he says. "We'll have them on the calendar as soon as it makes sense, but things get awfully hard to do at the end of the year."