The search for a new police chief will begin in earnest at the end of the month, when city leaders begin going through the scores of applications they’ve already received.
In the two-and-a-half months since former Police Chief Peter Abbott resigned, more than 70 applications from around the country have been received.
Because the application deadline is not until Aug. 31, many more could be sent.
City Manager Bob Bartolotta has not yet reviewed the applications, but will begin that process soon.
A deadline to choose a new chief was set at December.
“But there is nothing precluding us from making a decision before that,” said Bartolotta.
Abbott resigned his position May 18, after Bartolotta determined the former chief was not being proactive enough instituting changes to the police department, changes that were needed following the botched investigation of a police-brutality incident.
Capt. Mikel Hollaway was named interim chief. Hollaway was the senior-most captain in the department, with 28 years on the force.
Bartolotta said he hopes Hollaway will apply for the permanent job.
“I’m very pleased with his performance,” he said.
Hollaway, a Sarasota native, is a 28-year veteran of the Sarasota Police Department. He’s eligible for retirement in a couple of years.
Initially, the interim chief said he probably would not be interested in taking the job permanently.
But speaking to the Sarasota Observer Aug. 3, Hollaway alluded to a possible change of heart.
He said he hasn’t yet decided whether to submit his application, but said he will make his decision as early as this week.
Bartolotta is looking for a person to lead the Sarasota Police Department with a strong record on community-oriented policing and can move the city forward in accountability and transparency.
Hollaway, incidentally, created the police department’s current community-policing plan.
The new chief will also be asked to implement the recommendations from the Police Advisory Panel, which was created to improve relations between the department and the Sarasota community.
Members of the Police Advisory Panel will meet with city and police-department leaders Aug. 13.
A split City Commission ordered the meeting after hearing the panel’s concerns that city management did not adopt all of its 111 recommendations and sub-recommendations aimed at improving the Sarasota Police Department.
City management supported 93 of the recommendations. The upcoming meeting will center on the 18 that city leaders questioned or wanted changed.
That meeting will take place at 2 p.m. in room 112 at City Hall.
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