New Kingsport police chief may be found within two months

Matthew Lane • Apr 24, 2013 at 7:21 AM

KINGSPORT — The Model City could have a new police chief on board by the middle of June.

City Manager John Campbell said this week that would be his desire, and he made a similar comment to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen recently when asked by elected officials about the search for Police Chief Gale Osborne’s successor.

Earlier this month, Osborne announced he would be retiring as Kingsport police chief effective May 17. Osborne has served 33 years with the department and the last six as its top officer.

During a recent BMA work session, Campbell informed the BMA the city would be using the assessment center process in the hiring of Osborne’s successor.

The assessment center is essentially a committee of current and retired local police chiefs, ranking officers and other members of the community, who come together and interview potential candidates for a particular law enforcement position, in this case Kingsport’s police chief.

“We’ve got MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) involved, and over the next week they’ll be doing some key interviews with some existing staff and other officials to establish the way the assessment center will run,” Campbell said. “It’s commonly used by police agencies in this area for ranking officers for the past 20 to 25 years ... and used across the whole state. The idea is it’s a more comprehensive interview process.”

Campbell said the assessment center members have not been chosen yet, but cities have had good cooperation and participation in the past, and Campbell expects to have its members in place within the next two weeks.

Once done, the assessment center members will interview the potential candidates, rank them on a number of key skills and make a recommendation to Campbell, who will ultimately make the final decision. Campbell said the committee could recommended one to three candidates for the position.

Kingsport has advertised for the position both internally and publicly and will be accepting applications through May 22. From there, the assessment center process will begin, and Campbell said a new chief could be on board by the middle of June.

“Though we don’t want to rush anything, and we have two very capable deputy chiefs,” Campbell said. Deputy Chief David Quillin, who oversees police operations, is currently the interim police chief until a successor is named.

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