By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 9, 2019
The Community Partners Committee will hold interviews with each finalist starting at 8 a.m. on November 4.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Tallahassee's Community Partners Committee narrowed the list of candidates for the city's new chief of police from 17 names to 10 names.
Here are the finalists for the Tallahassee Police Department Chief of Police opening:
City Manager Reese Goad began Wednesday's meeting with a moment of silence for one of the candidates who passed away on Saturday. Chris Connell was a member of the Tallahassee Police Department for 28 years, and he also served as the Director of Capitol Police.
The first three speakers at the meeting emphasized the importance of a candidate knowing Tallahassee and how TPD operates.
Conversely, Chief Jerome Gaines highlighted the positive effect of a new, outside perspective, rather than a candidate who already works in the area.
"I want to make sure that we put the right person in the position to be successful," Gaines said.
Gaines himself was an outside here, moving to Tallahassee from Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the Fire Chief position.
"You have to be willing to step out and try something different and bring in a different perspective. That's why I think it's important," said Gaines. "You have to have people from the outside come in and ask questions and see what they can bring to the table to change things."
Each member of the group listed their personal top six candidates; when those were tallied, all six candidates were current or former TPD employees. That's when Chief Gaines, as well as others, brought up the importance of "outside" candidates.
Four candidates tied for the seventh-most votes: John Dale, Antonio Gilliam, Eric Smith, and Perry Tarrant. The group again went around the table, listing their personal top two choices of those four. Dale and Gilliam won that vote, but the group ultimately decided to include all four, bringing the total to ten.
City Manager Reese Goad is not an official member of the committee, but presided over the meeting. He discussed the difficult choice the committee had to make.
"The committee talked through that thoroughly; I thought they made a really good decision to make sure that we heard the voices of those candidates from close by, as well as those from around the nation," said Goad.
The committee will hold interviews starting at 8 a.m. on November 4. The goal is for three candidates to move on to community interviews, but the committee may allow a maximum five finalists to move on to the next stage of the hiring process. Goad will make the ultimate decision after those meetings.
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