By Lisa Soule
Killeen Daily Herald
The field of candidates for Killeens police chief has been narrowed to five, with interim chief Dennis Baldwin making the short list.
While the remaining four male candidates are all out-of-towners, each has the distinction of staying close to his home department.
Baldwin is no different. He began his police career as a Killeen patrol officer in 1984. Baldwin later worked as a narcotics detective before moving through the ranks, pinning on captains bars in 2001. He was the assistant chief under Robert L. Jackson Jr., and has served as interim chief since Jackson resigned in January.
Im honored, Baldwin, 44, said of making the list. More than 90 people applied for the position through the Dallas-based Waters Consulting Group which is handling the search. I take this as an honor and an opportunity to help the department get to the next level.
City Manager David Blackburn said all five of the candidates will sit for interviews Aug. 16 and 17.
Other candidates on the short list include:
n Prichard, Ala., Police Chief Sammie Brown Jr.
n Mesquite Assistant Police Chief William O. Hobson
n Lynchburg, Va., Deputy Police Chief Jack K. Lewis
n Wilmington, N.C., Police Maj. James C. Moore
Although the police department has been anticipating change, Baldwin said that overall, morale of the department has been pretty good.
There is change under way and with change some people buy into it and some dont, Baldwin said. Overall, the department is moving forward.
Even before the former chief left, Baldwin said the department was headed in the right direction.
We continue to move pretty much in the same direction, which is providing the best service with the given resources, Baldwin said.
No matter who takes the top slot, Baldwin said the new chief will have the support of the department.
Of course, you will not get 224 people to agree on anything, Baldwin said. But I think I can speak on behalf of the department when I say we will provide support regardless of who sits behind this desk.
In the end, Baldwin said the department will fulfill its mission no matter who is selected for the job.
It doesnt matter who it is, Baldwin said. Its really up to the men and women of the police department. The guys at the top get the credit, but the bottom line is, its the people underneath them who do all the work and dont get a lot of credit.
Baldwin said if he is selected, he will continue what he has been pursuing as the interim chief.
We would stay on the same track we are on now, Baldwin said. That track includes exploring better management of resources, community outreach and providing the service residents expect.
Sammie Brown Jr.
Prichard, Ala., Police Chief Sammie Brown Jr. said he is looking for a new challenge. Before taking the chiefs position in Prichard, a city of about 29,000, Brown spent 27 years on the Mobile Police Department, which he describes as just across the street.
Brown now commands a team of 65 sworn officers and nearly 50 civilians. Before he entered law enforcement, Brown served in the Army as a fixed-wing aircraft mechanic in the mid 1960s, including two tours in Vietnam.
As he considers moving from his home to further his law enforcement career, Brown, 57, said he was looking for a progressive city that is serious about public safety. As a chief, Brown said his biggest focus is the people whom he commands.
The greatest resource I have is personnel, Brown said. They have first contact with the citizens. I invest as much resources I can into those people to make sure they are the very best and will be perceived that way by the community they serve as well as those who come to visit.
Brown said he has always liked Texas and has a brother who lives in Dangerfield.
William O. Hobson
Mesquite Assistant Police Chief William O. Hobson said the chiefs position in Killeen would give him the opportunity to both pursue his professional career and be closer to family.
Hobson graduated from Killeen High School in 1964 after his father settled in the area after his military retirement. My family has been there ever since, Hobson said. His parents are now buried in Killeen, and his siblings and their families live in the area.
Hobson, 57, said Killeens proximity to Fort Hood presents a challenge that not a lot of law enforcement establishments have. A large part of Killeens economic development and a lot of what they do is directly tied to the military, Hobson said. Im an Army brat myself and spent three years in the military. I have knowledge of the areas unique relationship with Fort Hood.
After 32 years with the Mesquite Police Department, Hobson said he hopes to translate some of that organizations successful programs to Killeen.
Killeens police department is a professional organization in and of itself. Theres a lot of good stuff there, Hobson said. I think I can improve upon what is already in place.
Jack K. Lewis
Lynchburg, Va., Deputy Police Chief Jack K. Lewis has spent 26 years in his current department, but said he is ready to move on. Ive pretty much set my career in motion to end up as a chief of police somewhere, Lewis said.
Although he considers Lynchburg a city with a good quality of life, he said the same thing is also what draws him to Texas.
Having been in one place as long as I have, I have seen our department go through a number of changes, Lewis said. The last 20 years we have worked real hard to be more of a community involved policing service and making life good for people in all neighborhoods. I think weve figured it out.
Lewis, 50, said he would like to bring that philosophy to Killeen.
Allowing officers to make decisions and neighboring the people they serve leads to better problem solving, Lewis said.
James C. Moore
Wilmington, N.C., Police Maj. James C. Moore sees the open Killeen chief position as an opportunity to fulfill a professional and personal dream.
Moore, 42, said a nearby Marine Corps base and Army post have him used to working around the military and certain off-duty military issues.
Moore has been with the Wilmington police force since 1988.
I dont believe in superficial management, Moore said of his leadership philosophy. He said his plan for Killeen would be dictated by the current conditions in the department.
Moore has no family ties to Texas, but said he liked what he saw of the state when he attended a recent conference in Dallas.
Im excited about visiting Killeen and discussing my qualifications and my review of the police department, Moore said.
Contact Lisa Soule at email@example.com