When Mesa names a new police chief later this spring, that might only be the first of many changes at the police department.
The City Council is expected to approve the chief’s hiring in June, according to a timetable released by City Manager Chris Brady. Soon after, a to-be-determined consulting firm will examine policies, procedures and personnel of the 1,400-employee department.
“Because the police department is fairly unique, with the types of services and responsibilities they have, it makes sense to bring someone from outside who specializes in this,” Brady said.
Timing between the chief’s hiring and the consultant’s review is essential, Brady said.
If the consultant is brought in before the chief, the department’s new leader won’t have the opportunity to weigh in with an opinion.
But if the consultant comes in too long after the chief’s arrival, then there’s the risk of resentment that outsiders would be handing down suggestions for change no matter how the established leaders feel.
Forty-four candidates have applied to replace retired chief Dennis Donna, who departed in December. One of those applicants is interim Police Chief Greg Fowler.
The field will be winnowed to a handful this month, and these semifinalists will be interviewed in late April and May.
After Brady makes his recommendation, the council will decide on his choice at its June 5 meeting.
In the meantime, city staff members are outlining the goals of a review for prospective consultants.
Once the firms respond and the city selects one, the review should begin in July or August.
Three years ago, Chandler commissioned a review of its police department similar to what is in store for Mesa.
The report from Virginiabased Maximus suggested such measures as rearranging and adding staff, increasing training and upgrading infrastructure.
“The levels at the top — are they organized correctly?” asked Brady, giving an example of what city leaders hope to learn from the review.
Police timeline Week of April 17: City releases list of semifinalist candidates for police chief.
April 27: Semifinalist candidates tour Mesa and meet the public.
May: City Manager Chris Brady nominates a new police chief.
Late May: City selects consulting firm to conduct review of Mesa Police Department.
June 5: City Council considers Brady’s recommendation for police chief.
Summer: Consulting firm issues review of police department.