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Search for chief may go national

By Staff | Dec 3, 2010

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said Friday that the community is begging for a permanent police chief to be named, so much so that he’s received “many dozens of comments” from people as he’s traversed the streets of Cape Coral.
City Council had endorsed that sentiment Thursday, instructing City Manager Gary King to begin advertising for the job during the board’s strategic planning session.
Chulakes-Leetz said the idea of a national search is somewhat of a misnomer, since the search will become international once posted online.
He thinks the city’s police force is operating “in limbo” without knowing who their long-term boss is going to be. He said interim Police Chief Jay Murphy was a “short timer,” since he’s close to retirement.
“We owe it to our 248 highly honorable and dedicated police officers to provide them with permanent leadership so they know what culture they are to do their duties under,” Chulakes-Leetz said.
He also added that the city is safe not necessarily because of the efforts of the police department, but because “99 percent” of Cape citizens are “law abiding.”
“Whether or not we have a superb police department or an average police department … they’re only as good as the citizens they serve,” he added.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail said he “took exception” to the point made by Chulakes-Leetz, and thinks it’s more of a slight to the department than a compliment.
He also thinks a national search is unnecessary.
“I still say by hiring in house, whether it’s Chief Murphy or anyone else, you’re rewarding their loyalty, professionalism and a job well done over decades,” McGrail said.
City Spokeswoman Connie Barron said the hiring of a new police chief falls under the purview of City Manager Gary King.
Barron expects the advertisement for the job to be ready by the end of the month, but does not know when the position will be filled.
“Right now the only time frame to having the ad ready to go by the end of the month,” Barron said.