Police chief candidate pool down to 13

COSTA MESA — The applicant pool for Costa Mesa's next police chief has been winnowed to 13 candidates, the city's chief executive said Thursday.

Candidates faced a "grueling process" of interviews with a professional committee consisting of chiefs from other departments, a panel of community members and an internal panel of officers, city Chief Executive Tom Hatch said.

Three members are on each committee. A new chief may be chosen by mid-August, Hatch said.

Each panel will come up with its recommendation for a candidate based on its interviews and will make recommendations to him, Hatch said.

Candidates will then be asked back for a second interview with Hatch in the coming weeks.

At least one applicant was an officer from out of state, Hatch said, although he declined to say which departments the candidates were from to protect the applicants' privacy.

The 13 were selected from an initial 60 who applied, said city spokesman William Lobdell.

The initial screening was performed by human resources staff members and Hatch, who checked for basic conditions of eligibility.

The position opened in March, when former Chief Chris Shawkey resigned after being placed on administrative leave by then-City Manager Allan Roeder. Shawkey reportedly had charged personal car miles on city-funded travel vouchers, but Roeder never made the reason for the resignation public.

In a city-commissioned review of the department by Management Partners Inc., the need for a new chief was highlighted as an issue "crucial to the future of the department," their report states.

The chief selection comes as a restructuring plan of the department is set to be presented to the City Council on Tuesday.

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