New London police chief offers advice to council
By Jane Myhra
Manawa’s search for a new police chief has begun.
The Manawa Common Council discussed the process during its Aug. 31 Committee of the Whole meeting.
The plan is to have applications by Sept. 30, select and interview applicants during October, complete background checks on finalists during November and have a new chief hired by December.
Providing some advice to the council was New London Police Chief Jeff Schlueter.
“You need to find a good fit, someone who is unbiased and will fit your community,” Schlueter said. “You want someone who will stay, and not leave after four years.”
He suggested that the council create a list of criteria as far as education and experience, prior to interviewing the candidates.
Schlueter emphasized the importance of conducting all of the required tests – medical, psychological and background.
“When you hire a chief of police, if they (make a mistake), it will cost you millions every time,” he said.
Schlueter said he is willing to help with the testing and in an advisory position, but it is up to the council to “take the upper hand” and make the final selection.
The council members expressed appreciation that Schlueter was offering to help.
Mayor John Smith noted that the city hired an adviser for the hiring of its previous police chief.
“The people who do it for a business don’t know what we need here in Manawa,” Smith said. “Our chief needs to be on the street and listening to people.”
Today’s police chief plays a different role than in the past, Schlueter told the council.
“Today’s society is no longer Mayberry RFD,” he said. “There is a drug problem and an increase in homicides. That’s why you need a professional (chief) in here; someone able to lead an investigation and able to handle any call that happens.”
He agreed it is important for the chief and the police officers to be seen in the community both on and off duty. He said cases are solved when police have good connections with the public.
“You need a person who will stand up for your community and wants to be in your community,” Schlueter said. “Determine what your tolerance levels are and stick to your criteria.”
In other business, the Committee of the Whole approved the hiring process for a part-time police officer.
They also approved a request for an officer to accept a part-time position as adjunct/instructor for Fox Valley Technical College.