Three finalists for Bluffton Police Chief were interviewed Thursday, and one should land the job by next week, the town manager says.
Selected from about 140 applicants, the top candidates are Hassan Aden, deputy chief of the Alexandria, Va., Police Department; Mark Brooks, chief of police in Marion, N.C.; and Joey Reynolds, manager of a private security company and a retired police chief from Lenoir, N.C.
The men met privately Thursday with a panel of five Bluffton residents selected by town manager Anthony Barrett to recommend a candidate.
Today, Town Councilmembers will interview the finalists in groups of two -- just one short of a quorum of the five-member council, so they won't have to publicly release an agenda. The hopefuls also will meet individually with Barrett.
According to a town news release, Aden rose through the ranks of the Alexandria department since joining in 1987. He serves as the Patrol Operations Bureau commander for the department, which employs more than 300 officers. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from American University's School of Public Affairs and is also a graduate of American University's Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation. He works as an assessment team leader for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement -- a distinction Bluffton's Police Department earned under former Police Chief David McAllister.
Since January 2010, Brooks has been the police chief in Marion, N.C., a department with 24 officers about 40 minutes east of Asheville. He worked at the Shelby Police Department for more than 20 years before taking that job. Brooks is working on his doctorate in public policy and administration at Walden University and is an adjunct professor at Gardner-Webb University. He also serves as a team leader for CALEA.
Reynolds was the police chief for the city of Lenoir, N.C., for eight years until retiring in Dec. 2011. He is a security manager for G4S Company Police/Secure Solutions, Inc. During his law-enforcement career, Reynolds worked in alcohol law enforcement, narcotics investigations and as a communications technician at various agencies. He has a master's degree in public administration from Appalachian State University. He is a member of the FBI National Academy Association, was elected to its national executive board in 2009, and is a certified public manager through the National Consortium of Public Managers.
Bluffton's chief will lead a department of 33 full-time officers with a $3.8 million budget housed in a new center at Buckwalter Place. By the end of his tenure, former chief McAllister earned a base salary of $108,000, but that amount is open to negotiation, according to the town's job posting.
The finalists will meet senior town staff and police officers over coffee this morning before going on to their interviews with Barrett and elected officials.