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Thu, Oct. 17

Panel selects 3 finalists for Prescott Valley police chief post

From five semi-finalists for the post of Prescott Valley police chief, officials have selected three contenders, Town Manager Larry Tarkowski announced Wednesday afternoon.

He said staff will notify the two candidates who did not make the cut and invite the three others to meet-and-greet sessions Sept. 17 at the police headquarters and the Crystal Room of the public library. A date has not been set for hiring the chief.

Town officials narrowed the field to three after a three-step process Wednesday that started with department heads giving tours of Prescott Valley to the finalists. The other steps were a mock press conference with 15 town staffers posing as reporters and rating the performance of the five, and an interview by a panel.

The panel included Tarkowski, Mayor Harvey Skoog, Interim Police Chief James Edelstein, Town Clerk Diane Russell, and Marnie Uhl, president and chief executive officer of the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The town received more than 80 applicants for police chief from throughout the country, Tarkowski said. The town hired the Mercer Group of Santa Fe, N.M., to do the initial screening, and Mercer narrowed the field to 20 applicants, Tarkowski said.

The town's human resources manager, Karen Smith, discussed an executive recruitment campaign for the chief during the March 21 council meeting. She recommended hiring an outside firm to do the initial recruitment and screening at a cost of $15,000 to $25,000, and supplied a list of four firms, including Mercer.

The successful candidate will take over the helm from Edelstein, a commander who became interim chief March 15, the same day that former Chief Bill Fessler retired. Edelstein did not express a desire to become chief.

Fessler joined the department in 1990, and was promoted to interim chief in April 2011 after then-chief Jim Maxson retired three years into the job. Tarkowski named Fessler chief in August 2011.

Fessler cited as his reason for resigning the controversy over his involvement in a law enforcement motorcycle club, the Iron Brotherhood, that engaged in a brawl on Whiskey Row Dec. 22, 2012.

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