One of the following six people could be the next Killeen police chief: Gregory Burns, Jr., Steven Henry, John Houston, Charles Kimble, Marlin Price, Patrick South.
The city announced the finalists in a news release Wednesday, and City Manager Ron Olson has invited the six to Killeen for interviews July 20-22. The finalists were chosen from among 42 applicants.
Chris Hartung Consulting Services in Euless led the search that began April 23, months after former Police Chief Dennis Baldwin moved to become interim city manager. Baldwin is now assistant city manager.
Current Interim Police Chief Margaret Young did not apply, she told the Herald, but did not say why. Young, the first woman to be named chief in department history, expects to return to her previous role as assistant chief when the top spot is filled.
The cost to the city for the search is $10,000 plus expenses.
Texas law and city purchasing policy require expenditures above $50,000 to be competitively bid and approved by the City Council. Because the cost is below that, the city manager can authorize it.
Among the problems a new chief will need to address are employee turnover, a tight budget and an increase in violent crime.
Killeen reported 16 killings in 2016 and 17 the previous year, police data show. Since Jan. 1 of this year, 10 homicide investigations were started in separate cases.
Local political candidates previously called for more active neighborhood participation and community policing, a term used to define the role of officers in neighborhoods.
It remains to be seen what a new police chief will decide, and how he will navigate tightening budget constraints.
Starting salary will be at most $124,688, a city brochure says.
Baldwin was paid $12,974.88 per month, or about $155,698 annually.
The city spends about $75,000 to bring a new officer online, including benefits, equipment, salary, and psychological and medical exams, Young had said.
Department attrition is fought through financial incentives and advancement opportunities, but at least three officers have resigned since July of last year, citing higher salary needs, she said.
Probationary police officers for up to the first 18 months of employment are considered noncivil service staff, and are paid from the General Pay Plan. Entry-level pay is $21.60 per hour, $3,743.33 monthly or about $44,920 annually.
After the probation period, officers are paid from the Police Pay Plan, which begins at $4,071 monthly or $48,851 per year. By comparison, entry-level Georgetown police officers make more, at $51,542 per year.
Other reasons for leaving the department have varied: one left for military service; eight recently retired; and some were unable to finish the training process or chose not to do so, Young said.
The Killeen Police Department does not require a commitment from new officers to serve a minimum period, although it has been considered, Young said.
In April, the police department was at 91 percent capacity (255 of 280) of sworn positions, and fewer than half (49 of 103) of nonsworn positions were filled.
Gregory Burns, Jr. has more than 28 years of law enforcement experience. He has served the Louisville (Kentucky) Metro Police Department for 24 years. Previous experience includes being assistant chief of police/support bureau since 2014. Burns holds both a bachelor of science in criminal justice from Bethel University and associate degree of applied science in criminal justice from Jefferson Community and Technical College.
Steven Henry has more than 24 years of law enforcement experience. He served the Chandler (Arizona) Police Department for 15 years before serving eight years as chief deputy with the Pinal County (Arizona) Sheriff’s Department. Henry has a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University and a bachelor of arts in history from Arizona State University.
John Houston has more than 37 years of experience in law enforcement with the Corpus Christi Police Department. He is its administration division commander and served roles throughout the organization. Houston has a bachelor of arts in criminal justice from Saint Leo University.
Charles Kimble has more than 25 years law enforcement experience. He is police chief of the Spring Lake (North Carolina) Police Department. His career includes 20 years at the Fayetteville (North Carolina) Police Department and two years at the Fayetteville State University Police Department. Kimble has a bachelor of science in criminal justice from Liberty University and an associate of arts in criminal justice from Central Texas College.
Marlin Price worked in law enforcement for 44 years. He is a law enforcement consultant for the Texas Police Chiefs Association. He served as police chief for Southlake Department of Public Safety for five years after 28 years at the Dallas Police Department; 15 were as deputy chief and assistant chief. Price has a masters of public administration from the University of North Texas and a bachelor of science in law enforcement and criminal justice from Sam Houston State University.
Patrick South has 24 years law enforcement experience with the Austin Police Department. He was a police commander for the department for more than five years, and served in leadership roles in the organization. South has a bachelor’s of business administration in finance from Texas A&M University.
MEET AND GREET
Finalists will tour the city and meet with city staff before interviewing with management, employees and a community panel, spokeswoman Hilary Shine said in the Wednesday news release.
An opportunity for the public to meet finalists will be July 20 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Killeen Community Center.
Shine did not say how the community panel was chosen, and said there would be no opportunity for the public to observe the interviews prior to City Manager Olson’s final decision.