Dayton’s search for new police chief gets underway

Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl retires next month, and city leaders want to find his replacement by October.

The Dayton City Commission on Wednesday approved hiring an executive search firm to find qualified candidates. The city also plans to soon hire another firm to put candidates through scenario-based assessments.

Dayton commissioners this week approved a $60,400 contract with Waverly Partners LLC for the executive recruitment and selection of a new police chief. The city said the firm has experience in this area and successfully assisted the city with hiring other executive-level employees.

Waverly Partners will put together a job profile for the police chief position, market the job opening and create questionnaires and other supplemental materials to learn more about candidates’ qualifications and the depth of their experience, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

The city expects to hire a different firm for an assessment center that puts candidates through a series of scenarios and evaluates how they perform, Dickstein said.

“It’s one thing to talk about your experience,” Dickstein said. “This is a demonstration of your experience.”

The exercises will help judge candidates’ communication skills, leadership and decision-making, city officials said.

“There could be a scenario-based exercise where we say, ‘Replay May 30 (2020 protests),’” said Joe Parlette, Dayton’s deputy city manager. “Talk us through how you would handle x-, y- and z-situations.”

One of the police reform recommendations was to involve community members in developing the police chief job description, and include reform committee participants in the interview and hiring process.

The city manager appointed a selection oversight committee that will include several representatives from the police reform working groups. The assessment firm will offer training to the selection oversight committee, Parlette said.

City officials said the selection process will include input from city staff, reform group members, community stakeholders and neighborhood leaders.

Biehl was sworn in as the city’s 16th police chief in January 2008.

A community gathering honoring Biehl’s retirement will be held at 4:30 p.m. July 27 at the Levitt Pavilion Dayton on the 100 block of South Main Street.

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