City accepting letters from officers for interim police chief position
COLUMBIA- Interim Columbia City Manager John Glascock officially began the search for an interim replacement for outgoing Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton on Wednesday.
In an internal memo to Columbia Police command staff and interested candidates, Glascock gave interested officers until 5 p.m. on Thursday, January 10 to submit a letter of interest.
The candidates will be reviewed by an internal team and the Columbia Police Officers Association before making a decision.
Burton submitted his letter of resignation December 28. Since then, Deputy Chief Jill Schlude has taken over as acting Police Chief. Thursday was Burton’s last official day on the job.
In the memo, Glascock outlined the qualities he is looking for in a new police chief.
“The interim police chief must be a leader by example and must have the skills to unite staff to achieve common goals and objectives,” Glascock wrote. “The selected individual will have the high visibility in the community and will need to have the capacity to make tough decisions.”
Glascock also laid out four key issues the interim chief of Police will need to address.
- The unity of staff within the department.
- Implementation of community policing
- Racial disparity in vehicle stops made by CPD officers
- Analysis and review of current department policies with an eye towards officer safety and respect for citizens.
City spokesperson Steve Sapp said there are no leading candidates for the interim job, including Acting Chief Schlude.
“I don’t think there are any frontrunners according to Mr. Glascock,” Sapp said. “I think he will have a very open mind as he goes into this and take a deep dive into the letters that are sent to him from interested employees in the department to see what the best fit based on the criteria he set forth.”
Since the Police Chief’s resignation last week, Sapp said Glascock has been gaging the morale of officers within the department.
“Mr. Glascock went in during the early morning hours a few weeks ago to have a casual conversation with officers to determine and listen to what their thoughts are on the current state of affairs in the Columbia police department,” Sapp said.
Sapp said it is not clear if the city will use a search firm to find a permanent Police Chief as it did for Chief Burton. The search won't start until after city council has appointed a new city manager.