ELKO — As Police Chief Don Zumwalt’s retirement date draws near, the city is looking for a new leader to guide the department.
City council will hold a special meeting Monday to consider applicants for the position, once Zumwalt retires on Oct. 31.
During the day-long meeting, the council will interview four candidates: Michael Kuehn, John Powell, Ben Reed, Jr. and William Robert Spears. Each candidate’s resume and application are posted on the city website, www.elkocity.com.
• Kuehn is the assistant superintendent for the Utah Highway Patrol headquarters in Salt Lake City. He has experience in public safety leadership and Homeland Security emergency management, according to his resume.
“What makes cops happy is opportunity,” Kuehn wrote in an online Q-and-A with the city. “In a small department, promotions are not always available, so it becomes necessary to harness the type A personalities and provide opportunities for skill development. Identifying skill gaps in the department, polling the interests of officers and plugging them in is necessary if you want employees to feel valued and for them to want a long-term career with the department.”
• Powell has been in law enforcement for more than 20 years, serving as a police chief in Dothan, Ala., Wilson, N.C. and Hartsville, S.C. More recently, he’s acted as the principal consultant for Law Enforcement Consulting LLC in Dotha and previously as the director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco in Tallahassee, Fla.
“In the past, serving as Police Chief in Hartsville, Wilson and Dothan, I was the outside candidate,” Powell wrote during his Q-and-A. “Upon starting the position, I took several weeks to review the operations of the organization. I took the opportunity to get to know the administrative staff and identify strengths and weaknesses that as humans we all have. ... If hired as Chief of Police in Elko, I will utilize the same process.”
• Reed served the police department in Redding, Calif., for more than 30 years, starting as a police officer and working his way up to police captain until 2010. He currently resides in Lamoille.
“A good local government leader will always stay in touch with the community and be sensitive to the needs of the community,” Reed answered in his Q-and-A. “This can be done in many ways. Community feedback and information sharing can be done on a larger scale via town hall-style meetings, neighborhood watch meetings, city council briefings and reports, media interviews, press releases and newspaper articles.”
• Spears served as the police chief of Willows, Calif., for six years and worked over two decades for the police department in Santa Maria, Calif. He also spent three years in the United States Marine Corps, working for the military police and the Marine Presidential Security unit.
“My philosophy regarding police service is based firmly in the principles presented by Sir. Robert Peel (1729),” Spears answered in the Q-and-A. “His concepts of community policing are simplistic and realistic. He believed strongly in a unified or team approach to the policing of a community. Sir Robert Peel commented in one of his principles that the public are the police and the police are the public.”
The council and other city officials will interview the candidates throughout the day by hosting meetings in different locations.
An introductory, informal breakfast will be offered in the Humboldt Room of the Red Lion Hotel & Casino at 8 a.m., followed by a luncheon at The Star Hotel at 11:30 a.m. A formal city meeting will be at 1 p.m. in City Hall, located at 1751 College Ave., at 1 p.m. All three meetings are open to the public.
“The city wouldn’t have to make a decision (for the new police chief) on Monday, but they could,” Assistant City Manager Delmo Andreozzi said.