Police chief search officially started with recruitments

Sep. 03, 2013 @ 07:41 PM

The recruitment process stage of finding Henderson’s next police chief has begun, according to a public notice sent out by the city Tuesday.

Becky Veazey, president of the Management and Personnel Services Group via the N.C. League of Municipalities, will be serving as a consultant and facilitator.

Input from city residents on the search is being solicited at a Tuesday, Sept. 10, meeting. The community-at-large focus group meeting will take place in the City Hall chambers, with public comments welcome on the question: “What knowledge, skills, abilities and characteristics does the next police chief need to have?”

The initial steps in the recruitment process include the community meeting in addition to input from the City Council, the personnel of the police department and community leaders, according to the city’s Tuesday notice.

According to the notice released by the city clerk, the input from all groups will be considered to develop “several job dimensions that we will be looking for in the next chief. This information also helps us build supplemental questions on which to focus with the finalists, both prior to and during the assessment center.”

Those unable to attend can write comments and mail or email to the city manager. The email is rgriffin@ci.henderson.nc.us and the mailing address is Ray Griffin, City Manager, PO Box 1434, Henderson, NC 27536.

Keith Sidwell retired from the position effective May 31 and Capt. Marcus Barrow was named the interim chief.

Sidwell began his tenure in January 2007 after 25 years in Roanoke, Va. He was presented his badge and sidearm by the City Council in recognition of his efforts.

During his tenure, the crime rate as determined by the Uniform Crime Report decreased, more than $5.8 million in asset forfeiture money was accrued and Community Watch groups increased from nine to 34. In addition, new additions of Business Watch and Church Watch were started.

The department is recognized as the best of the best in police departments nationwide through the Commission of Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, which has policies and procedures based on the best police practices by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Sidwell led a reclassification effort within the department, allowing salaries to increase. Previously, the department was more than 25 percent below market value on salaries and struggled to recruit and retain.

Sidwell got no increase in salary as part of the move, and his departing salary of $72,495 is believed to be well below market value.

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.