Cedar Rapids Police Chief Search Down to 3
By Rick Smith, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS – Police Department Capt. Steve O’Konek and police commanders from Maryland and North Carolina will vie to become the city’s next chief of police, City Manager Jeff Pomeranz announced late Wednesday afternoon.
The three were among seven candidates for the post that were in Cedar Rapids for two days last week for a round of interviews with Police Department commanders, city department directors, area public safety professionals and community leaders. The candidates also met the public at an open house.
In addition to O’Konek, the finalists are Wayne Jerman, assistant police chief at the Montgomery County Police Department, Rockville, Md., and Michael Smathers, a captain with the Charlotte-Mecklenberg County Police Department, Charlotte, N.C.
Thirty-five people applied for the job.
Pomeranz, who hires the police chief with the advice and consent of the City Council, plans to make a final pick by mid-September.
Between now and then, the city will conduct more research into the candidates’ backgrounds and experience and visit the communities where the each of the candidates work.
Cedar Rapids’ former police chief, Greg Graham, came to the city in June 2008 from the police department in Ocala, Fla. In January, Graham was hired as police chief at his former department.
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