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PV police chief applicants explain why they should be offered the position
Final selection expected by Friday, Sept. 20

The four finalists for Prescott Valley’s chief of police position sit in the Prescott Valley Library during a public meet- and-greet Thursday, Sept. 12. Standing is Andrew Gorgey with Peckham & McKenney, the executive search firm that helped with the recruitment process for the position. (Max Efrein/Courier)

The four finalists for Prescott Valley’s chief of police position sit in the Prescott Valley Library during a public meet- and-greet Thursday, Sept. 12. Standing is Andrew Gorgey with Peckham & McKenney, the executive search firm that helped with the recruitment process for the position. (Max Efrein/Courier)

Having made it through the initial recruitment process, the four finalists vying to take over as Prescott Valley Police Department’s chief went through a two-day interview process Thursday and Friday, Sept. 12 and 13.

Midday Thursday, the applicants got to interact with PVPD officers, who were encouraged to ask them questions about their backgrounds and experience.

The public was then invited to meet the applicants Thursday evening at the Prescott Public Library. Each applicant was allotted a six-minute introduction before breaking off to talk with whoever wished to approach them.

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The Town of Prescott Valley has narrowed its search for a new chief of police down to four finalists. (L to R) Joseph Deras from California, Kathleen Elliott from Arizona, Greg Volker from Missouri and Steven Roser from Arizona. (Town of Prescott Valley/Courtesy)

In their introductions, the applicants briefly walked through their law enforcement backgrounds and expressed their excitement to be considered for the position.

Applicant Greg Volker, a major with the Kansas City Police Department, said members of his family have been living in Arizona since the 1970s and that he and his wife always planned to retire in the Grand Canyon State.

“But I’m not ready to retire,” Volker said. “I still have a lot to give, and so when this position opened up, it’s a perfect opportunity for me to live in a great state and a great area.”

Volker highlighted his attributes, focusing on his desire to serve the community in a compassionate way.

“What I really bring is a good caring leader who cares about the individuals, from the civilians who answer the phones to the officers on the streets,” he said.

Applicant Steven Roser, a lieutenant with the Phoenix Police Department, said he has been coming up to Prescott Valley to escape the heat in Phoenix since the early 1990s.

“[The town] just grows on you,” Roser said. “What really impressed me is it really made me feel like I was at home. You have a great police department right now, I think you just need a great leader and I believe I fit that role.”

Applicant Kathleen Elliot, a former chief of police at the Gila River Police Department, said her experience has particularly tuned her to be fiscally responsible and adept at management. Her mission at the Gila River Police Department was to help stabilize what she described as a struggling administration. “And I did that,” Elliot said. “I’m happy I left it better than I found it.”

For PVPD, she hopes to just improve on what she perceives as an already healthy department and community.

“I’m here to hopefully serve your community and take it to that next level,” she said.

Applicant Joseph Deras, a captain with the Gilroy, California, Police Department, said he’s comfortable with his position in Gilroy, but is truly excited to potentially serve as PVPD’s chief.

“I’ve talked to businesses, people with the different civic organizations, the school district, and the resounding review of the department is very, very positive,” he said. “So I don’t think I need to come here and really make any change. I just need to be in that position to provide leadership. My philosophy has always been to remove barriers and provide resources for the staff that’s already here.”

Prescott Valley Town Manager Larry Tarkowski will have the final say on who is offered the position.

To make an informed decision, he said he will be considering input from a wide variety of individuals, including officers, members of the public and those he’s invited to sit on an interview committee.

Each applicant will also be presented with a disaster scenario during the interview process and asked how they would manage the situation. A panel of law- enforcement professionals will judge the applicants’ responses and let Tarkowski know how each person performed.

According to Tarkowski, the ideal applicant is someone who “will take a very good and very professional police department to the next level as we continue to evolve as a community.”

He anticipates making a final decision by Friday, Sept. 20.

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