The selection process for the Riley County Police Department director will restart after the candidate chosen to be the next director unexpectedly withdrew his candidacy last week.
The Riley County Law Enforcement Agency, or Law Board, discussed their next steps at their meeting in Randolph Monday. Board members agreed to re-list the job opening, take applications and re-do the process while maintaining the services of McGrath Consulting Group to help with candidate evaluation.
“The consultant is obligated to, under contract at no further charge, assist us in the process,” said Board Chair Craig Beardsley. “The only thing we would have in the way of costs would be travel expenses for them and the candidates.”
The selection process would run essentially the same: the search committee will work with McGrath to create a job listing and collect applications, but this time the entire law board will review candidates before any finalists are determined.
“If we have to have a special meeting to go through applications that takes three, four, five hours, whatever then we do that,” said Law Board Member and Riley County Attorney Barry Wilkerson. “It’s an important decision, it’s a decision that the law board as a whole is entrusted to by the public and [i think]we should all sit down and go through all the applications.”
The board also decided to maintain the search committee to allow a diversity of voices to be included in the selection process.
“I think it has been good to include non-law board members on the subcommittee from K-State and Fort Riley and the community-at-large and police department employees,” said Law Board Member and Riley County Commissioner Ben Wilson. “I think we could have the whole law board review the applications in executive session, but include the subcommittee members as well and continue to receive their input — if they want to make the additional time commitment.”
Prior candidates and finalists are allowed to reapply. The finalists determined from the new batch of candidates will go through an evaluation center and meet with the public.
“I think we’ve already done with the public the kinds of things we need to to find out what their desires are in a director,” said Law Board Member and Manhattan Mayor Pro Tempore Mike Dodson. “But I would ask when we go through the tail end of the process that we do go back out to the town halls so that they can meet [the candidates].”
Multiple board members also expressed that they had no desire to rush into a selection after the unanticipated departure of their prior finalist while also in the face of the impending retirement of current director Brad Schoen at the end of the year. Dodson said he wants the process to be conducted “right, rather than fast.”
Should they come upon Schoen’s retirement and still not have concluded the selection process for his replacement, they may call upon an internal candidate to serve as interim director.
“We have a very fine deputy director,” Dodson said, referring to current RCPD Interim Assistant Director Kurt Moldrup.
After the meeting, Chair Beardsley spoke with KMAN about their former chosen candidate’s departure. He said they had previously thought they were going to hold a vote to confirm the new director selection at this meeting and start the hiring process.
“We didn’t anticipate — and I certainly did not — getting to basically the end of the search and we basically made a decision and lo and behold it falls apart right before you’re ready to announce it,” Beardsley said.
Beardsley declined to name the candidate, but said he chose to stay in his previous position.
“Since we didn’t go through and we didn’t have a vote, I’d prefer if we didn’t name names.”
The Manhattan Mercury reports the chosen candidate was Ottawa Police Chief Dennis Butler. KMAN could not immediately reach Butler for comment.