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Prescott police commission to review new chief candidates

Prescott Police Department is currently in the midst of its second search for a new chief. File photo

Prescott's Police Commission is set to discuss police chief applications Wednesday, Oct. 17 in its more-than-a-year-long search for a new police department leader.

Throughout the process, the city's police commission has appointed two interim chiefs — former interim Rob Funk and current interim Doug Ducklow — and held a previous search that failed to bring in a new chief and is now in the process of completing a second search. Wednesday's meeting is also set to discuss applicants for part-time and full-time officer candidates.

"With the initial round [of chief candidates] we really didn't get that many. The ones we got really weren't that qualified," said Bill Pryor, chair of the city's police commission. "We weren't really that close."

Wednesday's meeting will mostly entail sorting through the applications and filtering them to decide if they want to interview them, said Jayne Brand, Prescott city administrator.

The city received almost 40 applicants as of Monday, Oct. 15, up from about 12 in the last search, she said.

The commission will also likely determine interview dates, and decide whether or not to bring in a third party to assist in interviews. During the first search they enlisted a U.S. marshal to help them interview candidates, Brand said.

In order to get a wider range of suitable candidates, Pryor said the commission tried to make the position more attractive. Originally, the pay range for the position was about $70,000 to $78,000, and they increased it to $75,000 to $80,000 for the second search.

The department also updated administrative software for the position. However, updating the pay and upgrading the software was a lengthy process, attributing to the prolonged search.

"Basically, we're trying to make sure we're giving the new guy that is coming in the proper tools that we didn't have," Pryor said. "If we're going to do this, let's make sure the new guy has up-to-date tools."

When Prescott Police Chief Gary Krutke died of cancer in 2017, the department flipped between having Sgt. Funk, who was passed over as chief in the first search, handle the role as chief and current interim chief Doug Ducklow, a Pierce County Sheriff's Office investigator, afterwards on a half-year contract.

Funk held the position from Aug. 8, 2017 to June 25, 2018, and Ducklow became office chief on Aug. 1.

Pryor said Funk was moved back to an officer role in order to not have someone with a connection to the position also vie for it, and that some of the tasks were "outside of [his] expertise."

Ducklow's contract ends Jan. 31, 2019, and the commission hopes to have a new chief selected by December, to help ease the transition for the new chief.

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