Hillard: Diversity key in police chief search

By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com



Finding diverse candidates for the job of Oberlin police chief is a priority for new city manager Rob Hillard.

Briefing city council Tuesday, he said he plans to fill the position this summer after an extensive search of both internal and external candidates, which is already underway.

The first step in finding the right chief will be advertising the job in more than 30 venues. Oberlin human resources coordinator Rosalind Watson said they will include social media, job boards, churches, NAACP groups, the Lorain County Urban League, and a number of publications.

The responsibility of choosing a chief will rest solely on Hillard’s shoulders.

To make the right choice, he plans to review applications with focus groups that include residents, civic groups, and police staff. Hillard said he also plans to tap law enforcement experts from surrounding communities who can screen candidates.

“I’m listening. I’m doing my very best to get out, to understand what some of the needs are, knowing that everyone’s not going to agree,” he said. “But ultimately know that the decision has to be made.”

Hillard will choose a panel to interview the first round of candidates.

After that, he plans to sit one-on-one with finalists to weigh the merits of each.

Former chief Juan Torres abruptly stepped down in late December due to a severe family illness. He returned to Alexandria, Va., where his wife resides.

Torres had been chief only briefly — just 15 months.

His second-in-command, Lt. Mike McCloskey, has been promoted to interim chief of police. He is a 21-year veteran of the force.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.


By Jason Hawk