71 apply to become new Roanoke, VA police chief

The Brass Key | August 6, 2010 | Comments (0)

Roanoke received 71 applications from people who want the police chief’s job, including at least three from the city police ranks.

Now that the July 30 application deadline has passed, a review of the candidates by city officials begins. City Manager Chris Morrill, who will hire the next chief to replace retired Chief Joe Gaskins, said he hopes to have the new chief working by the end of the year.

Morrill has appointed members of two review panels to help interview candidates and make recommendations. The panels — one made of community members, the other of city officials and Blacksburg police Chief Kim Crannis– will interview the top three to five candidates in September, Morrill said.

“Seventy-one is good,” Morrill said of the pile of applications.

Interest came from across the country, with most applications from the Southeast, Morrill said.

Three Roanoke officers have applied for the job. They are acting chief Chris Perkins, Capt. Greg Staples and Lt. Mac Babb.

Perkins has worked in patrol, vice and major crimes and was deputy chief of the police operations division, which includes the patrol and detective bureaus, before Morrill named him to lead the department after Gaskins’ retirement June 30.

Staples has worked in patrol, vice and the services division, which he now commands. He is responsible for the police academy, the property room, records, evidence technicians and grant writing.

Babb manages patrol officers and supervisors in Northwest Roanoke’s Zone 4.

Deputy Chief Tim Jones, Capt. Curtis Davis and Capt. Monti Lee have said they did not apply for the chief’s job.

City officials will review the applications to narrow the field to 10 candidates or fewer this month. Telephone interviews should distill the field to three to five contenders, Morrill said.

Those finalists will be brought to Roanoke for interviews with the community and technical panels.

The community panel includes representatives from neighborhood groups, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority and the Roanoke branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Morrill has said that he wants the community’s involvement in choosing the next police chief so that whoever is hired will understand the importance of being an active part of the community. Morrill decides who gets the job.

Brenda Hale, president of the Roanoke NAACP and a member of the city manager’s community panel, said she’s looking for a chief who will consider Roanoke’s diversity.

“We want someone that can embrace the new technology and has a keen interest in the policing of the community,” Hale said.


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