Headhunter discusses recruitment process, community involvement for Elk Grove Police chief

Recruiter Greg Nelson listening to comments from a workshop on the selection process for Elk Grove's next
police chief. |  

Honoring a promise he made on increasing government transparency as he assumed office earlier this year, Elk Grove city manager Jason Behrmann convened a workshop seeking community input on the recruitment of the city's next police chief.

The workshop seeking community comments on what they would like to see with a new police chief was held at Elk Grove City Hall on Tuesday, May 21. City manager Behrmann, who has the final decision on the hiring of all department heads at city hall, including the Elk Grove Police Department, is recruiting a replacement for current Chief Bryan Noblett who recently announced his retirement.

In his opening comments, Behrman noted that while he has the final hiring decision, community stakeholder groups included in the process will help determine a group of final candidates for consideration. Those stakeholder groups will include law enforcement officials, other city employees, and a group of citizens.

"We are going to listen to a lot of voices in the process," Behrman told the workshop participants.

As part of the process, the city has hired Greg Nelson of the Rocklin, Calif.-based recruitment firm Ralph Anderson & Assoc. Nelson, who is a retired police chief with a 24-year law enforcement career, praised Behrmann's commitment to the three to five-month process.

"This is a very open process," Nelson said.

In the workshop, Nelson gathered input on three areas asking participants their view on the positive attributes of Elk Grove, the challenges facing police, and the leadership traits the new chief should possess. During the dialogue, the audience offered a variety of views.

While some participants expressed support for the performance of the police department, a broad array of suggestions about the selection process, law enforcement practices, and traits the news chief should possess were conveyed. Many commented that if the new department head comes from outside the department, they should have a demonstrated track record of dealing with a community at least as diverse as Elk Grove.

Another suggestion was to add a fourth component to the review process. Noting police officers are often at the frontline of social services needs in the community, Elk Grove resident Michael Monasky suggested a group of social service professionals is empaneled as part of the screening service.

Nelson and Behrnamm were asked if a community event might be held where the finalist could be asked questions in a public forum, Nelson said that was unlikely. Nelson said he felt that such a gathering might discourage otherwise qualified candidates from applying given the visibility could hurt their prospects with current employers.

Although Nelson's services are engaged for nationwide recruitment, internal candidates are eligible to seek the opening. Current Chief Bryan Noblett was promoted from his assistant chief position three years ago, while his predecessor, Robert Lehner, was recruited from the Eugene, Oregon police where he was their chief.

In a podcast interview with Elk Grove News, Noblett said he would remain until his replacement is in position.  


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