02/01/11 — Committee is looking for Mount Olive's next chief of police

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Committee is looking for Mount Olive's next chief of police

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 1, 2011 1:49 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A five-member search committee will review applications for the town's chief of police job that will be vacant as of March 1 when Chief Ralph Schroeder, 54, retires.

The town is advertising the position on its website and starting Tuesday in the N.C. League of Municipalities newsletter that will go to all municipalities in the state.

A native of Lorain, Ohio, Schroeder has been with the department for 32 years, the last three-and-a-half years as chief.

As of Tuesday, the town has received two applications, but that number is expected to increase in response to the statewide ad, Town Manager Charles Brown said.

"I think we will get more response outside this area," Brown said.

Commissioners Kenny Talton and Gene Lee, Mayor Ray McDonald Sr., Schroeder and Brown make up the search committee that will review the applications beginning March 2.

How long the review process takes will depend on the number of applications received, the committee said.

"Technically (hiring) responsibility falls on the shoulders of the town manager," Brown said. "What I would really like to see is that search committee bring a final recommendations to the full board. I would like to see a unanimous vote of support for whoever is chosen. I think that is important for the person accepting the position, and I think that it is important for the town."

Brown said he is hopeful a recommendation will be made by sometime in March.

"I think we have all decided it is better to do this the right way than do it the quick way," he said. "I do not think we are under any pressure to have it filled by a particular date."

Plans are to use a Raleigh consultant, who is retired from the Raleigh Police Department, to conduct background checks on the finalists at a cost of about $40 an hour.

"It is not really appropriate to have somebody from our department do background checks on a person who potentially could end up being their boss," Brown said.

Brown said he has not heard much discussion about promoting from within the department.

"I think the committee said this, 'If we had three candidates, and all roughly equal qualified, I think if one of those was someone from within our department, I think they certainly would have a leg up on anyone else,'" he said. "I think that would only be appropriate, but I have not had a lot of conversation or heard a lot of conversation about that.

The police department has 15 full-time employees with an operating budget of just over $833,000.

According to the ad, persons applying for the job must be a North Carolina certified law enforcement officer with at least five years of "strong technical and leadership experience in a law enforcement agency in a multi-cultural community. Candidate must demonstrate leadership and commitment to community-oriented policing, problem solving, crime prevention and value accountability.

"Candidate must have a thorough understanding of criminal justice and public administration. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice, public or business administration or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience will be a plus."

The starting salary will be approximately $46,000 depending on qualifications.