Search Beginning for New APD Chief
The search is beginning for the next police chief in the City of Allentown. Mayor Ed Pawlowski announced at an afternoon news conference that Robert Wasserman and his Massachusetts-based Strategic Policy Partnership would be starting the process of recruitment and selection of a new police chief.
Pawlowski said, “The police contract that took effect in January 2009 included a one-time Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP enhancement for veteran officers. This allowed the city to keep our most experienced police officers and command staff through the end of this year. Mindful that this group includes Chief Roger MacLean, Assistant Chief Joe Hanna, Assistant Chief Dan Warg and two of our most experienced captains, the city has retained Mr. Wasserman’s services to assist the city in this task.”
Wasserman has worked for many of the nation’s largest cities as a policing strategist. His Strategic Policy Partnership is a group that assists police and government agencies with policing strategy development, performance improvement and personnel selection. Wasserman’s clients include the cities and police departments of Cincinnati, Oakland, Milwaukee, Cambridge, Mass., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stamford, Conn., New York City, South Bend, IN. and Chicago.
Wasserman will lead a multi-step approach or roadmap to the selection process with the objective of providing full transparency of the process events and elements. There are, of course, some exceptions. The city will maintain confidentiality of candidate names until the finalists have been selected so the job security of applicants is protected.
The roadmap provides for substantial community input into the process and provides the community with the opportunity to meet and observe the finalist candidates prior to the mayor’s forwarding the name of his appointee for consideration to City Council. Some elements of the roadmap include:
• Holding a community forum where the public can offer candidate characteristics and issues in the department that they feel that the new chief needs to address.
• Mr. Wasserman will conduct interviews with police employees to gauge what they seek in the next chief. He will seek input from a cross-section of the department.
• Mr. Wasserman will conduct one on one meetings and interviews with members of City Council.
• Mr. Wasserman will conduct meetings and interviews with key members and leaders of our community.
• Sensitive handling of the screening process, but eventually six to eight candidates will be brought to Allentown for interviews.
• Narrowing the screening process to three or four candidates who will appear before a public forum prior to interviewing with the Mayor and before any final nominee is selected.
“This is a very rigorous and inclusive process,” said City Council President Julio Guridy. “I am confident that it will result in the selection of the best chief for our city and will maintain the reduction of crime in Allentown over the past several years.”
The position will be advertised in professional organization newsletters, through Major City Chiefs, and through organizations like the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.
According to Pawlowski, “Public safety is the most important job we collectively undertake in local government and the police chief is centrally important to the administration of the department and the attitude that our officers take with them to the streets every single day. We are fortunate to have been directed by a fine command staff, but we are now seven months away from the time when they will all be moving-on. They have left us a legacy to build on.”