Panel to review chief applicants

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Editorial: Aug. 1, 2012

ISSUE: Vine Grove's search for police chief
OUR VIEW: Proffitt's approach has merit

Now that the application deadline has expired, Vine Grove can begin the work of selecting its next police chief.

Mayor Blake Proffitt’s community approach to the candidate review process is to be commended.

His plans are to have a four-person panel review applicants, conduct interviews and determine finalists for his consideration. The panel will include a member of city council, a city employee and a community resident at large.

That system would ensure input from different constituency and help develop comfort and buy-in from various groups served by the police department and its chief.

Proffitt also likely will ask a member of another police agency to participate in the process to provide insight on professional standards, experience and skills.

This balanced panel should enhance the process. But let’s not expect it to fully depoliticize the process. Candidates with friends, family or colleagues in the community will have their supporters. Some candidates for the job likely will have their detractors.

It’s impossible to fully remove these subjective considerations and all matters of personal bias. Sometimes that can be addressed by removing names from the initial review of applications and resumes. That’s another step for the mayor to consider.

What the panel should create is a more open environment, potentially removing questions of a unilateral or limited review.

When the former chief was dismissed in April, the city cited personnel considerations for a limited release of information about circumstances concerning the decision. If any sense of unfairness exists in the mind of city residents, this extensive review of candidates could put some of those feelings to rest.

This is a critical hire for Vine Grove as it is in any city. The perception of law enforcement’s skill, stability, integrity and fairness becomes entwined with the perception of a community to its neighbors and visitors.

Through its quaint neighborhoods, friendly manners and community-focused festivals, Vine Grove continues to portray itself as an idyllic Kentucky community. These are qualities also worthy of consideration in next police chief.

Mayor Proffitt’s hiring process offers promise..

This editorial offers a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.