Waverly Partners Leading Police Chief Search for City of Dayton  

June 30, 2021 – The public sector is in the midst of major transformation. It faces an array of challenges that range from shifting public expectations to budgetary pressures and a growing demand for operational efficiency. To successfully navigate these issues, government organizations need leaders who are focused, tenacious, and adaptable, report recruiters, with the capacity to deal with significant scale, complexity, and ambiguity.

Executive search firm Waverly Partners was recently selected to find a new police chief for the City of Dayton, OH. The police department’s current chief, Richard Biehl, who has held the job since 2008, is retiring next month. Lt. Col. Matt Carper, who has 29 years of experience with the department, will serve as acting police chief.

Last week, the Dayton City Commission approved the hiring of Wavery Partners, in hopes of finding a new chief by October, according to the Dayton Daily News. The commissioners approved a $60,400 contract with the firm. Reportedly, the city will also hire a second firm to put candidates through scenario-based assessments.

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The newspaper reported that Waverly Partners will be expected to produce a job profile for the police chief position, market the opening and create questionnaires and other supplemental materials to learn more about candidates’ qualifications and the depth of their experience.

The selection process is expected to include input from city staff, reform group members, community stakeholders and neighborhood leaders. Shelley Dickstein, Dayton city manager, said the search for Dayton’s next chief will start this month and that the city will have an “open search with robust community input.”

Community Involvement

A Dayton police reform group focused on recruitment and promotion last month urged the city to involve community members in the selection process, said the Dayton Daily News. The group asked the city to let community members help create the description of the position and include “reform orientation” as a requirement of the job.

The Dayton Daily News also cited mayor Nan Whaley, who praised chief Biehl for leading the city through some of its most challenging moments, including a mass shooting and the killing of a police detective. “He has shepherded the department through our current police reform process, making sure his officers were committed to listening carefully to residents as they worked together to create recommendations for how police can be more transparent and responsive to residents,” she said. “Clearly the work we’ve done on police reform, the 142 recommendations, would not have happened without chief Biehl’s leadership and support through this.”

“It has been the greatest honor in my professional career to serve as police chief for the City of Dayton and to work with the Dayton community to improve public safety,” chief Biehl said.

“The job of police chief is one of the most important roles for both the City organization and the community,” said Ms. Dickstein. “Nationally, policing is at a crossroads, and I want to thank chief Biehl for helping to lead the department through some very difficult conversations and situations in recent years.”

Formed in 2001, Waverly Partners serves Fortune 500 service and manufacturing corporations, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, professional service firms, private equity firms, hospitals and healthcare systems and colleges and universities nationwide.

Police Chief Searches

A number of police departments around the country have turned to executive search firms to find new chiefs. Here is a sampling from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Ralph Andersen and Associates was recently selected to lead a national search for a new chief of police for the city of Austin, TX. “The role of police chief is incredibly important not just to the city organization, but to our community as a whole,” said Spencer Cronk, Austin city manager. “I hope through this process that we collectively find the ideal candidate – one who collaborates with our community, instills trust in the workforce, works to achieve results from established council policy, creates a culture of improvement and accountability, and is willing and able to lead the department in ways that lead to equitable public safety outcomes for all.”

Spelman Johnson has been chosen by Harvard University to lead its search for a new chief of police for the Harvard University Police Department. Francis D. Riley, the current chief, recently announced that he is retiring at the end of the year. Heading the assignment is search associate Heather J. Larabee. A committee representing leaders from across the Harvard community has been convened to conduct the search, and it will actively engage with individuals from across the university’s schools and units.

Colorado Springs, CO-based KRW Associates has been enlisted to find the next chief of police for the Town of Morrison, CO. Leading the assignment for the public sector executive search firm are managing partners Lorne C. Kramer and Jerry Williams. Candidates for the position should possess demonstrated leadership and people skills, high integrity, proven success in problem-solving policing methods, data-driven deployment methodologies and department-level financial management, said KRW Associates.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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