Sparks Begins Search for New Police Chief

SPARKS, Nev. (AP) - Sparks officials say they will develop a profile outlining the qualities they want in the city's new police chief before recruiting candidates for the job.

City Manager Shaun Carey is not placing a firm date on when a new chief will be named, but says a selection could be made as soon as mid-November.

Until then, Deputy Police Chief Steve Keefer will serve as acting police chief following the retirement of John Dotson.

"I felt very comfortable with him assuming the acting role," Carey said of Keefer.

"It is something he has done when John has been out of town before. He has a good supporting group of commanders; there's a good leadership corps that I'm sure is all working together to get Steve Keefer through this period," Carey added.

"Steve is the single deputy chief. I have great confidence in him."

Sparks is currently creating a profile of what it wants in a permanent successor to Dotson, who was paid $135,688 per year.

"It's very important that this profile for the next police chief be reflective of the community's needs, what are the visions and values," Carey said. "That will allow us to undertake a recruitment that will focus on finding someone who best meets those qualities."

The city plans to talk to a variety of people as it gathers information, including City Council members, Mayor Geno Martini, city staff, Reno Police Chief Michael Poehlman, Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick, and Sheriff Mike Haley.

The aim is to determine "the attributes and qualities of a person who can take this department further ahead," Carey said.

Once the position is posted, the city plans to screen applicants against the profile.

"For example, if we are looking for someone who is very good in making presentations to civic groups, we would certainly have a speaking exercise," Carey said.

Though mid-November is a potential target date for naming a new chief, it could be longer if the search goes national, Carey said.

He eventually will recommend a candidate to the City Council, which will make the final appointment.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)