February 6, 2019 – After a national search, executive recruitment firm Public Sector Search & Consulting has placed Kenton Buckner the next chief of the Syracuse Police Department. Police chief Frank Fowler recently announced his retirement after nine years on the job. The assignment was led by Gary Peterson, president and CEO of the search firm.
Mr. Buckner was one of three finalists selected after an eight-month search process. The other candidates were Joseph Cecile, first deputy chief in Syracuse, and Kamran Afzal, chief of police in Durango, CO.
The city’s search committee included representatives from local non-profit groups, individuals who have worked in law enforcement and members of city government, according to the Syracuse Post Standard. The City of Syracuse held 10 community meetings, 36 meetings with stakeholders in law enforcement, government and non-profit groups, and received more than 700 survey responses, the newspaper said.
“Chief Buckner brings effective crime reduction strategies and a track record for increasing the diversity of his force,” said Ben Walsh, mayor of Syracuse. “He understands the importance of having strong partnerships with law enforcement and the community to make our neighborhoods safer. Syracuse has an outstanding police department. I believe Chief Buckner will make it even better.”
Veteran Law Enforcer
For the last four years, Mr. Buckner has served as police chief in Little Rock, AR, where he has overseen a department of about 600 officers. Before that, he was with the Louisville (KY) Metro Police Department for 21 years, retiring as assistant chief. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern Kentucky University. Mr. Buckner is also a graduate of the National Executive Institute, sponsored by the FBI; Chief Executive Officer Mentoring Program at Cedarville College, sponsored by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; and the Senior Executives in State and Local Government, sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School.
Public Sector Search & Consulting is based in Rocklin, CA. Its consultants have more than 30 years of public sector leadership experience along with a track record of successful executive searches in major cities, as well as small and mid-sized municipalities, special districts, universities and community colleges.
A Former Police Chief
Mr. Peterson, the firm’s founder, had a 26-year career in the public sector, serving as chief of police for the City of Martinez in the San Francisco Bay area. After retiring from law enforcement, he joined a mid-sized consulting firm where he focused on expanding the firms’ public safety practice.
Mr. Peterson has recruited a broad range of senior executives for municipalities, special districts and universities. His prior placements include the following positions: city manager, chief of police, city attorney, general manager, vice president of human resources, vice president of business and finance, administrative service director, director of finance and public works director.
Turning to Search Firms
A number of cities across the U.S. have turned to search firms to find new leaders. Here is a sampling from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
In separate assignments, Keller, TX-based Strategic Government Resources has been chosen to find new police chiefs for two municipalities in Pennsylvania, Newtown Township and Edinboro. Strategic Government Resources, founded in 1999, partners with local governments to provide a variety of services.
Colorado Springs, CO-based KRW Associates, which was recently tapped to find two new police chiefs in Colorado. The assignments involve the University of Colorado in Boulder and the city of Greely. Managing partner Jerry Williams is leading both searches along with senior associate Susan Eaton.
Bob Murray & Associates recently assisted in the selection of David Nisleit as the new chief of the San Diego Police Department. Mr. Nisleit has served as the San Diego Police Department’s assistant chief. Bob Murray & Associates clients include cities, counties and special districts, both large and small.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media