The Town of Purcellville is one step closer to hiring its first deputy police chief.
As of Monday, the town’s Police Department received 38 applications from individuals interested in becoming deputy police chief. A review of the department by Wilson Elser law firm and consultant Timothy Longo recommended that the town create the post, among other management and operational changes.
Police Chief Cynthia McAlister said that she’s hoping to have the deputy chief on the force by the end of January.
McAlister said that Town Manager David Mekarski would be included in the selection process and that she’s looking for someone with solid leadership and management skills who has experience managing budgets, personnel and critical incidents. The prime candidate should also have community engagement “at the core of their policing policy” and have “a track record of holding people accountable.”
“It will be a thorough investigation,” McAlister said. “It’s a decent amount to go through.”
The deputy chief will be paid about $90,000 annually and will support McAlister by working in the field with officers and allowing her to perform important administrative work. The deputy chief will also more clearly establish the department’s succession of command.
Since mid-September, Dianne Gittins, the retired City of Alexandria police chief, has acted as interim deputy police chief. She is being paid up to $45,000 and will remain in the role until mid-February to help the transition to the new deputy chief.
The police department is also looking to hire an accreditation manager to ensure that it remains in compliance with the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission’s accreditation standards and to update its General Orders Manual when needed.
Emily Johnson has acted in that role part time since August and is being paid $35,000 to do so until June 30, 2019. McAlister said that her department is looking to include a full-time accreditation manager position in the town’s fiscal year 2020 budget.
The department also plans to hire an operations commander to oversee patrol operations and manage the armory, coordinate daily roll call training and advance the department’s efforts to engage with the community. That position will be at the lieutenant rank.
Sgt. Mike Owens has served as the department’s interim lieutenant since August. McAlister said the ultimate goal is to have two lieutenants in the department—one managing operations and one managing administration.
She said that could happen once the town completes a pay compensation study and updates employees’ salary figures. “We just haven’t had any pay adjustments for years,” she said.
In addition to hiring a deputy chief and two support positions, the police department also graduated a cadet from the police academy on Tuesday and plans to enroll three more for a June 2019 graduation.