Reception Thursday will allow public to meet and evaluate police chief candidates
Lawrence residents will soon be able to let the city know what they think about the four candidates being considered for police chief.
As part of a public reception Thursday, residents will hear an introduction from the four candidates and afterwards can talk with them one-on-one. City Manager Tom Markus said the event is a two-way process.
“It gives the candidates an opportunity to interact with the Lawrence public and get kind of a feel for the community,” Markus said. “…And then it gives the public a chance to take a look at these candidates and then provide some feedback on what they think.”
The candidates, announced last week, hail from police departments in four states. They are Assistant Police Chief Gregory Burns Jr., of Louisville, Ky.; Deputy Police Chief Simon Happer, of Overland Park; Police Chief Scott Lyons, of Papillion, Neb.; and Police Chief Stephen Monticelli, of Harrisonburg, Va.
Human Resources Manager Lori Carnahan said the goal of the public reception is to give the community exposure to the candidates and the ability to hear from the candidates directly.
“They’ll be available for individual conversations with the attendees, so they can answer specific questions that our community members may have,” Carnahan said. “We will have a feedback form available to all people who are there.”
Carnahan said the feedback form will ask attendees about their impressions of each candidate and any comments they wish Markus to consider when selecting the new chief. Residents can also provide feedback online until 5 p.m. Monday via the Lawrence Listens survey.
While they are in town, the candidates will take a tour of the city, interview with two community panels, meet with a panel of city staff and speak with Markus individually. Carnahan said feedback from those events will be compiled with the input from the public reception and the city’s selection criteria to narrow the candidates down to two finalists.
After that, Carnahan said the remaining process includes continuing background checks and the potential for additional interviews. She said the city anticipates having the process complete by the end of summer or early fall.
Ultimately, Markus said the visit will help them see how a candidate might fit in with the police department and the public, as well as how the candidate would lead the department forward.
“Ultimately, we’re looking for the best candidate we can find that certainly has leadership qualities (and) has a vision about law enforcement in terms of where it’s headed, not just locally but where it’s headed in the country,” Markus said.
The city began its search for a new police chief after Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib said he planned to step down this summer.
The starting salary for the position will be between $120,000 and $140,000, depending on qualifications. The police chief oversees the department’s 150 officers, 30 civilian staff and an operating budget of $23.4 million.
The public can attend the reception to meet the candidates from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Carnegie Building, 200 W. Ninth St.
Captain named interim police chief
A current police captain will begin serving as Lawrence’s interim police chief later this month.
Lawrence Police Department Captain Anthony Brixius will assume the duties of interim chief on June 25, City Manager Tom Markus has confirmed.
The need for an interim chief came about as Markus now believes it will be late summer or early fall before a new police chief is selected and can begin work in Lawrence.
Brixius is the captain of the department’s community services division, which oversees school resource officers, neighborhood resource officers, public information officers, various training functions, and other public outreach activities.