Editorial: Our process of finding a police chief is moving positively
Henderson’s search for a new police chief has passed through the stage for citizen input.
The organization of a time and place for us to speak was exactly what it needed to be. The City Council Chambers had 59 chairs set up and not all were filled. About three dozen of 15,000 residents turned out to speak on the issue.
There’s good and bad news in judging what took place.
In creating a process, Ray Griffin is moving in a direction to be expected from veteran leadership. As the city manager, the hire is his, but he’s offered a transparent model that includes participation from citizens, government and current police department employees.
Griffin has taken heat alongside now-retired Chief Keith Sidwell from those angry their complaints about police were not answered in a manner they wished. But he’s followed the laws and policies under which the city operates. To date, there has been no finding of improprieties. Complaints meriting discipline, whether in the police department or any of the 13 he oversees, are often private between supervisors and subordinates.
Of the more than two dozen ideas shared by the group, a common theme was participation in the community. Those present Tuesday want to see the chief — and they did mean everywhere.
That’s why about 75 are in our police department, including more than 50 sworn active-duty full-time. They’re an extension of their leader.
There was also a hint of wanting to have a resident, or more, on the assessment center team. That team, however, will include law enforcement veterans, like current or former chiefs, and people with experience in public administration.
For such an important hire, putting together a group so qualified to whittle the field of candidates is a positive step. Objectivity gets a boost. While many citizens here have knowledge of the community and what they see the chief facing, there’s far more the public can never see when it comes to executing the duties of the job.
That’s why Tuesday worked — the community did get its say. So did the City Council the previous night, and all three shifts of the police department.
Too bad a bigger venue wasn’t needed. But this process is moving in a direction we believe will benefit Henderson.