8 Final Candidates Announced for Cedar Rapids Police Chief
By Rick Smith, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Acting Cedar Rapids Police Chief Steve O’Konek and seven candidates from outside Iowa will interview on Thursday via video conferencing for the post of Cedar Rapids police chief.
Three other internal Cedar Rapids candidates were among 38 applicants, a group that had been reduced to 19, then nine and now eight as the city’s Civil Service Commission culled the applicant pool.
Those being interviewed on Thursday, in addition to O’Konek, are:
-Thomas Bergamine – police chief, Fayetteville Police Department, Fayetteville, N.C.
-Dan Hughes – former police chief, Surprise Police Department, Surprise, Ariz.
-Wayne Jerman – assistant police chief, Montgomery County Police Department, Rockville, Md.
-Robert Johnson – executive officer, Chicago Police Department, Chicago, Ill.
-Brad Nelson – patrol commander, Columbia Police Department, Columbia, Mo.
-Zim Schwartze – director, Columbia Joint Communications Agency and Emergency Management Services, Columbia, Mo.
-Michael Smathers – captain, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte, N.C.
After Thursday’s interviews with the commission, commission members will rank the candidates and present a list to City Manager Jeff Pomeranz. Pomeranz will select candidates from the commission list for in-person interviews and visits with the public in Cedar Rapids. Pomeranz makes the final choice with the advice and consent of the City Council.
O’Konek is one of three Cedar Rapids police captains who are taking a two-month turn as acting police chief as the Civil Service Commission and city manager work to find a replacement for Greg Graham, the city’s former chief. Graham left in January to take the chief’s job in Ocala, Fla. Graham came from the Ocala Police Department in June 2008 to head the Cedar Rapids department.
O’Konek’s last day as acting chief is today (Tuesday). He reverts to captain on Wednesday.
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