In its search for a new police chief, the Town of Bluffton will look for a qualified candidate within its own police department — initially, at least, town manager Marc Orlando said Thursday.
The police chief job listing was posted internally Thursday afternoon, said Orlando, who is in charge of interviewing and making the final decision to hire the town’s top cop.
If an internal candidate is not chosen, Orlando said he will “widen the search as much as needed.”
Current Police Chief Joey Reynolds, who is considered a town department head and reports to Orlando, submitted a letter to Orlando late Tuesday evening announcing his intent to retire at the end of this month after nearly five years in the position. The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette on Wednesday first reported about Reynolds’ retirement plans.
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In an interview Thursday morning, Orlando said he is working on details related to the hiring process, noting he received Reynolds’ letter “not even 48 hours ago.”
Orlando said he hasn’t yet decided who will take over as interim police chief after Reynolds’ last day on June 30. He also said he hasn’t set a specific timeline for the hiring process, adding the amount of time depends on the scope of the search.
When Reynolds was hired in the summer of 2012, the search process took about three months, then-town manager Anthony Barrett said Thursday.
Hiring town employees is one of the town manager’s key responsibilities. In hiring Reynolds, Barrett said he invited a panel of citizens to give its insights into the top five candidates. In addition, Barrett said Mayor Lisa Sulka and the Town Council helped him interview the three finalists, though he had the final say.
Barrett, now executive director of the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society, said it’s up to Orlando whether to include the public in the hiring process. Orlando said he will consider input from town staff, the mayor, Town Council and possibly others.
The new police chief should be someone “with an extensive knowledge of community policing,” Orlando said. He said he also hopes to find a chief who is a “great leader,” understands how to manage a growing police department, and is a good communicator and collaborator.
Reynolds is away from Bluffton until June 8 on business as president of the FBI National Academy Associates, a police training organization, police department spokeswoman Joy Nelson said Thursday. He has not responded to multiple requests by the newspapers for comment.
After retirement, Reynolds, 60, who spent years working in North Carolina, plans to find a job in the private sector closer to his family, Sulka said Wednesday.