City Manager Robert Layton today announced he is reopening the search for the Wichita Police Department (WPD) Chief of Police.
Layton, who made the announcement during the daily Public Safety Briefing at City Hall, said he decided to extend the search after finalist Joel Fitzgerald declined to accept the job. Fitzgerald, who had publicly said he would take the Wichita job if offered, is the Chief of Police in Allentown, PA. He is a finalist for the Fort Worth Police Chief opening.
“During our recent conversations, Fitzgerald expressed a stronger commitment to the Fort Worth police chief search than to the Wichita position.” Layton said, adding that he was “disappointed.”
The second finalist for the WPD Chief of Police opening was Terri Moses, the current Executive Director of Safety Services for Wichita Public Schools and a former WPD Deputy Chief with more than 32 years in the department.
Layton praised Moses’ service to the community but said stakeholders in the community and the department expressed a strong desire for an “a new and different perspective.”
“I firmly believe that we need new eyes and a fresh outlook for the department, its policies and its processes,” Layton added.
The search for a new Chief of Police has included an extensive community engagement process following an organizational assessment conducted by Wichita State University’s Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs.
Layton said he will provide more details about the new process and timeline for hiring the next Chief of Police after meeting with search consultants. He expects to fill the position before the end of the year. The Interim Chief of Police is Nelson Mosley. The next WPD Chief will lead the state’s largest police department, which includes a nearly $82 million budget and 836 employees. Former WPD Chief Norman Williams retired in September 2014.