City manager on police chief search: "We need to move forward" - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

City manager on police chief search: "We need to move forward"

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Teresa Wilson Teresa Wilson

"We need to move forward."

Seven months after Police Chief Randy Scott resigned, Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson says the it's time to find a permanent replacement.

"Unfortunately we've had to delay the process but we're ready to move forward at this point," says Wilson.

Tuesday, city officials announced they have launched a nationwide search for a police chief.

In September, city officials suspended their search while they awaited the outcome of a SLED investigation into allegations of misconduct involving Interim Chief Ruben Santiago.

"I haven't had any indication yet of the investigation concluding any time soon, so we feel like we need to move forward to provide that additional level of stability to the Columbia Police Department to have a permanent police chief," says Wilson.

Regarding the status of the investigation, the city gave WIS the following statement:

The City Manager and executive management team made the decision to move forward in the best interest of the community and the police department.  The investigation began 3 months ago and at this juncture, Ms. Wilson has not been given a definitive answer regarding when the investigation will close or when the report will be released to the public.  The Columbia Police Department has made significant strides in providing effective law enforcement activities and it is important to support their efforts by moving forward to select a permanent police chief for the department. 

"I'm very excited about the fact that we're moving forward," Wilson says. "I think its a positive step for this community.  We've listened to the citizens' concerns.

Wilson says Santiago is welcome to apply for the permanent job.

"He does have to apply," she says. "Every applicant will be given the same consideration. This is a fresh, new start with the process. Any time you begin a nationwide search of this magnitude, you want to cast a wide net and you want to start fresh."

Wilson expects the nationwide search will lure candidates who will listen to the needs of the community.

"From a longevity standpoint, we want someone who is going to be committed to the City of Columbia, who's going to consider it home and love the quality of life that we have to offer.

The deadline for applications is December 11th.  Wilson expects to begin screening applicants once the new year starts, with a decision made by the end of February.

Copyright 2013 WIS.  All rights reserved.


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