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IRVINE : 26 Express Interest in Police Chief Job

After a national search, the city has come up with 26 candidates interested in replacing Police Chief Leo Peart when he retires in January.

Peart, 49, announced about a year ago that he wanted to retire from the Irvine department at age 50. Peart began working for the city in 1974 and founded what was then known as the Irvine Community Police Department in 1975. Until then, the 3-year-old city was patrolled by Costa Mesa officers.

The candidates seeking to replace Peart will be narrowed to a pool of 15 in the coming weeks. The remaining contenders will be interviewed by an independent panel consisting of a city manager from another city, a community representative, the police chief from UC Irvine and others, Assistant City Manager Bernard Strojny said Friday.

The top 26 candidates come from across the country, Strojny said.

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The panel is expected to select five finalists who will be interviewed by City Manager Paul O. Brady Jr. and the City Council. Brady will make the final selection.

Brady hopes to hire a new chief by November, Strojny said. That would give the new chief time to give adequate notice to his or her current employer and start in December, he said. The city wants the new chief to start while Peart is still with the city to allow for a monthlong transition, Strojny said.


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