Monday was the deadline for applicants seeking to become Chattanooga's next chief of police.
The nationwide search began last month, following a series of Zoom meetings held by Mayor Tim Kelly seeking input from constituents on who they'd like to see become the city's top cop.
"Chattanoogans responded so thoughtfully to what they wanted to see in their next chief of police. As we go through the candidate screening process over the next few weeks, we now have a comprehensive report to provide both our internal review committee and a finalist interview panel comprised of community representatives," said Mary Beth Ikard, director of communications for the mayor's office in an email.
Chattanoogans highlighted a desire to "hire leadership with a demonstrated commitment to civil rights and community policing, the ability to spur a strong culture of accountability within the department, and a career track record of improving public safety," Ikard said.
She said the city is looking forward to in-depth conversations with qualified candidates, reflecting and incorporating the community feedback.
The city's job listing called for chief candidates to have an open mind, a big heart and leadership skills, as well as the tenacity to implement new programs, policies and procedures. It also required a four-year college degree and extensive experience in the field.
The city compiled weeks of community input into a report, which says Chattanoogans are searching for a demonstrated commitment to civil rights, as well as to officer well-being and safety.
The report also calls for a commitment to diversity, exceptional racial awareness and a commitment to equity within the force.
Furthermore, the report states citizens would want the next chief to prioritize transparency and accountability, build trust between police and the community, implement initiatives to reduce violent crimes, improve officer training and increase police visibility within the community.
The mayor's office said it incorporated the feedback from the community into the job description and, by partnering with the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum, has ensured transparency in the hiring process.
Some of the requirements listed were effective leadership and building strong relationships within the community and among rank and file officers and the ability to inspire confidence as a representative of the police department and the city.
Police Executive Research Forum executive search consultant Rebecca Neuburger said in an email Monday that it was too soon to say how many applications had been received, as applications are continued to be accepted until midnight.
"We can give a final number tomorrow morning, anything before seems premature because there is no telling what may still come by the end of the day," she said in an email.
According to the mayor's office hiring timeline, review of the applications will start immediately and last until the end of January. Interviews of candidates will start towards the end of January and last until early February, and a selection will be made by the end of February.
The next chief will be taking over the position vacated by former Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy, who retired at the end of July after 26 years on the force. Kelly has said that choosing Roddy's replacement is one of the "most important decisions" the mayor will make during his tenure. Deputy Chief Eric Tucker is serving as the interim police chief.
Contact La Shawn Pagán at email@example.com or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter @LaShawnPagan.