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Hunt is on for new police chief

ARLINGTON After soliciting input from the Arlington Police Department, consultants asked for the opinions of the Arlington City Council to help them hunt for the city's next police chief.

Consultant Greg Prothman met with City Council members Aug. 11 to determine what traits they thought were most important for the role, and reported to them what traits the city's police officers had told him they wanted to see in their new chief.

"They're looking for a strong leader," Prothman said. "They want someone who is approachable and will listen to them, but who will also give directions."

Council member Graham Smith was the first to speak up, asking for a police chief who will "think outside the box," by offering new ideas and concepts, in addition to continuing and expanding upon proven successes such as neighborhood watches and other volunteer programs.

Council member Sally Lien expressed the hope that the new police chief could find ways to use the police department's limited resources, not only to tackle larger crimes, but also to protect neighborhoods from thefts and vandalism.

"Can we have someone who's nice?" Lien laughed, as she asked for more open lines of communication between the police department and the City Council.

Council members Scott Solla and Marilyn Oertle agreed that the new police chief needs to be tied into the community, preferably living among its citizens and that his processes need to be as "transparent" as possible.

Council members Steve Baker and Dick Butner echoed this desire for the new police chief to be both accessible and connected to the community. Baker insisted that the chief "understand the differences between a large city and a changing one," while Butner requested that the chief "walk through the city and talk with its people."

"So, we want someone who can walk on water," Council member Chris Raezer jokingly summed up.

Based on an average of neighboring towns and cities, Prothman estimated that the new chief's annual salary could be anywhere between $100,000-$120,000, and suggested that the search be limited to the 11 Western states, citing the Southern and Eastern states as "too different" in their approaches to law enforcement.

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