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Norristown Council Appoints Committee to Conduct Police Chief Search

The committee will review and add to the job description for the position and conduct public meetings to get community input.

Norristown Municipal Council President Gary Simpson announced the creation of an ad hoc committee to spearhead the search for a new police chief at Tuesday night's council meeting. Current Norristown Police Chief Russell Bono said he is scheduled to retire on Feb. 28.

Simpson named Public Safety Committee Chair William Caldwell and fellow councilmen Dwayne Royster and Marlon Millner to the committee.

"[The search committee] will work with the finance and personnel committee to review and add to the job description of police chief, which has not yet been determined prior to this," Simpson said. "They will actually convene a public process that will provide unity meetings – either between two and three meetings – so that we can get the input of the actual community during this process."

The committee will also work closely with a national search firm the council plans to hire, though no firm has been selected yet.

Councilman Royster told The Times Herald that council has already spoken with two firms and Councilman Millner said that council will be able to select one without putting it out to bid because professional services are exempt from the normal municipal bidding process.

"The beginning stage will be about the role of the firm," Millner told the Herald. "People should be confident. We are aware of firms that deliver good work… Council saw this as way to move forward."

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Sally19401 December 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM
It's about time!!! People of Norristown - please attend these public meetings when they are announced to continue the conversation with Council regarding what the community wants and needs. Thanks to James for all of his coverage of this issue and the community letting their feelings be known. This is proof that if enough people get involved and become active, Norristown change change. Excellent news.
Mohandus Frieri December 19, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Gary Simpson must be a caveman. There has been a job description for public safety since Bill Bambi held the position. That committee just needs to identify potential candidates and interview them. By starting from scratch will endlessly gridlock their work. This just demonstrates the incompetence of borough council.
zanbott December 19, 2012 at 01:22 PM
James, thank you for giving this issue the coverage it deserves. I am thrilled that common sense prevailed. Our call for both an internal and national search for a qualified police chief was not about the PERSONAL it was the PROCESS. The issue hinged on the fair and ethical way to conduct business in the county seat. Let this be a lesson to all residents of Norristown that with our voices and our action we can make a difference in this town. We went door to door handing out flyers, we made phone calls and wrote emails to Council, Matt Bradford, Mike Vereb and Risa Ferman, we staged a demonstration on a busy street corner during rush hour and we had our voices heard. We did it... we made positive change in Norristown by acting as a community and demanding our elected officials work for us and not against us.
jtl December 19, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Zanbott, if that was you with the orange fliers, let me say "Well done!" That flyer spurred a conversation on the Norris Hills/Roberts Park Facebook page that caught the eye of lots of residents. Thanks for pushing. It's appreciated.
David C. Couper December 20, 2012 at 04:21 PM
What is “good policing?” What should you look for in a police leader? How is your city going to evaluate that leader? Perhaps one or more of the four major obstacles arresting police development is going on? For what they are and how to overcome them follow my blog at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com where other current police improvement issues are discussed. The kind of policing I am talking about is accomplished by men and women who are well-trained and led, restrained in their use of force, honest, and courteous to every person.
Matt Faust January 01, 2013 at 03:35 AM
I don't see why Norristown council has had so much difficulty in devising a plan to select a new police chief. It appears that much consternation has been generated by some directed, selective alternatives that stymie an open and fair process. A logical solution would be something like this: Appoint an acting chief of police from within the present active duty ranks of the police force and then tackle the job of finding a new police chief over a period of the next six months. I am sure there exists a deserving candidate from the present force to serve in this tentative position, thus obviating the need to have the unseemly practice of "double dipping" to be so blatantly evident by rehiring a retired employee. It looks as if this route has finally been chosen.
jxjipper January 01, 2013 at 05:15 AM
"[The search committee] will work with the finance and personnel committee to review and add to the job description of police chief, which has not yet been determined prior to this," Simpson said. This is code. You'll know what it means after the selection is over.

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