Upper Arlington city officials are doing a national search for their next police chief, with tentative plans to hire someone "early in the new year," according to Deputy City Manager-Community Affairs Emma Speight.

Lt. Jon Wilhelm is leading the Upper Arlington Police Division on an interim basis, after former Chief Tracy Hahn retired Sept. 22 after 25 years with the department, including the last two as chief. She replaced former Chief Brian Quinn, who retired in January 2016 after serving more than 10 years as chief.

Speight said the city hired Novak Consulting Group for $25,000 to assist with the search. She said the opening was posted Oct. 8, and it's being advertised online and through organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International City/County Management Association, the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Ohio Municipal League, among others.

"The team will also be targeting qualified individuals in the Midwest, including graduates from the FBI National Academy, to gauge interest," Speight said.

She said Novak Consulting is handling "advertising, outreach to prospective candidates, a review of resumes, screening/initial interviews, coordination of interviews for the top four (to) five candidates, reference checks and assisting with negotiations for the preferred candidate."

After top candidates are identified, Speight said they would be interviewed by a team of city administrators.

"This is yet to be finalized, but will include members of the city's executive team and some community representatives," she said. "A second round of interviews will likely follow if one or two candidates emerge as top candidates, with an opportunity to meet Police Division command staff and additional department directors."

She noted that two lieutenants, one sergeant and five officers have retired from the police department over the last three years, and 18 new officers have been hired since October 2015. She said the division is trending younger, with 27 of the 53 officers on the force having seven years or less of police experience.

So as the city looks for its next chief, Speight said, it will search nationally in hopes of finding an experienced, qualified candidate.

The city questioned residents about the chief's position via an online survey that was open through Oct. 24.

"The police chief plays an important role in the community, working with public entities such as the schools and library, civic and community groups," Speight said. "The role is critical to nurturing positive relationships, building trust and identifying issues or concerns that should be addressed by the division."

Following Hahn's retirement, Assistant City Manager Dan Ralley said officials had not determined how many candidates the city would interview to replace her, and he said no decisions had been made as to who would take part in the screening process.

"I think it's experience in departments of a similar or slightly larger size," Ralley said of what he believes the city will seek for Hahn's replacement. "There are a variety of skill sets that are at play with all of that."

As chief, Hahn received an annual salary of $124,408, as well as $46,122 worth of annual employee benefits.

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