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Search on for police chief

May 11, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hagerstown's City Administrator and a majority of City Council members said Tuesday they want to look inside and outside the police department for the city's next police chief.

Meanwhile, who will take over as interim chief after May 23, Police Chief Dale J. Jones' last day on the job, and before a new chief is hired, remains unknown.

Jones submitted a letter of resignation to the city on Monday after 5 1/2 years as Hagerstown's police chief. He will be going to work in Silver Spring, Md., where he will head up the law enforcement branch within the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is under the U.S. Commerce Department.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said it probably would take about four months to find and hire a new police chief.

He wants to look both internally and externally for the next chief.

"This is a crucial position. And I think that's the appropriate course of action," Zimmerman said.

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Four of the five council members said they too favored a broad search for the next police chief.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he was awaiting Zimmerman's recommendation.

According to the City Charter, the city administrator appoints city department heads with the approval of the council.

"I have an interim person in mind. But I'm not ready to talk about names," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said he anticipated announcing who would take over as acting chief later this week or early next week.

Zimmerman's comments came before a sometimes heated debate about whether the mayor and council would go into closed session to discuss who the interim chief should be.

In the end, council members Metzner, William M. Breichner and Alfred W. Boyer voted against going into closed session to get legal advice on how an interim department head is selected.

At that time, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II abruptly ended the meeting and said they would discuss the matter next week.

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