Internal candidate most likely Brown’s replacement
■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Editor
The Valley Chronicle reached out to the city of Hemet on Oct. 23 regarding the selection process and the criteria one must meet to lead Hemet’s finest. Chief Dave Brown announced earlier this year that he would retire in December to pursue a bid for Riverside County Sheriff against current Sheriff Stan Sniff and sheriff candidate Riverside County Sheriff Lt. Chad Bianco.
In his announcement, Brown named Deputy Chief Charles Robert “Rob” Webb as the heir apparent.
Interim City Manager Allen Parker – the one charged to conduct the internal recruitment – immediately responded and asked Brown to outline the recruitment process for The Valley Chronicle. Brown did not respond, so the newspaper reached out again.
This time Parker asked Human Resources Manager Laura Flores on Oct. 31 to respond. A follow-up email dated Nov. 3 was sent to Flores, which was copied to Brown and Parker, stating, “We are writing a story about this for the Nov. 9 issue. My deadline is 5 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 7).”
The newspaper received Flores’ email response at 5:36 p.m. on Nov. 7 stating, “I apologize for my delayed response. As Mr. Parker previously mentioned, the city is in a position to make an appointment from within the organization. We anticipate an announcement of who will be appointed will be made in the near future.”
TVC followed-up by asking if Flores could answer the initial question of the selection processes. Flores responded before press time.
“In order to qualify for the position, the minimum qualifications outlined in the job description need to be met,” began Flores. “The minimum qualifications are as follows: bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, law enforcement, public administration or a related field and eight years progressively responsible law enforcement management experience, including three years police lieutenant or higher experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
“Regarding the process, our city manager has assessed the qualifications of our internal candidates and will be making an appointment based on our employees’ overall extensive experience in law enforcement, years of service in a management position with the Hemet Police Department, leadership skills and abilities, education and advanced training,” continued Flores.
San Diego launches nationwide search for police chief
In the meantime, the city of San Diego, as reported by David Garrick in the Aug. 22 issue of the San Diego Tribune, launched a nationwide search for its next police chief. The city’s current chief, Shelley Zimmerman, will retire in March 2018.
“The City Council’s Democratic majority began lobbying Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer to conduct such a search last winter, contending a national search was necessary to ensure San Diego gets the best possible new chief,” according to the Tribune.
The Tribune also reported that the city will, like Hemet, consider internal candidates. San Diego’s new chief is set to be confirmed in February 2018.
According to the article, “City Councilman David Alvarez said the city needs to schedule more forums, either one in each council district or one in each of the city’s nine police divisions, which have different boundaries.” Alvarez also said the selection process needs to be transparent.
The city of Hemet has recently employed multiple officers from the San Diego Police Department. According to a current Hemet job posting, “The city is offering a $15,000 bonus for qualified lateral officers and deputies who meet the high standards of the Hemet Police Department.”
Garrick’s Tribune article also reported that “The new chief will take over a department struggling with a chronic shortage of officers and wrestling with concerns about racial profiling and tension between police and residents of ethnically diverse neighborhoods south of Interstate 8.”
With regards to Hemet, the next City Council meeting is Nov. 14 in the council chambers adjacent to the Hemet Police Station, 450 E. Latham Ave. As Flores stated, the appointment is expected to be announced shortly.
To state your feelings on who takes the position as Hemet’s Police Chief, please attend the Nov. 14 City Council meeting and arrive early to fill out a comment card to speak during the appropriate agenda item. Each speaker receives three minutes.
The agenda for the regular Hemet City Council meetings are released the Thursday evening prior to the Tuesday meeting. View the agenda at http://www.cityofhemet.org/index.aspx?NID=388. Select the “Current Agenda” link next to Hemet City Council.