Members of the community will have a chance this Saturday to meet three candidates in the running to become East Palo Alto's new police chief.
An informal, public "meet and greet" with the candidates will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. after a day of closed-session interviewing, according to Assistant City Manager Barbara Powell.
A 10-member panel appointed by the City Council will interview each candidate earlier in the day. Powell said Wednesday that the panel will include business owners, community leaders and seniors. In addition to the panel interview, each candidate will meet individually with each of East Palo Alto's council members, Powell said.
The panel and council members will provide their input to City Manager Magda Gonzalez, who is in charge of the final hiring decision. After she determines her preferred candidate, the city will conduct an extensive background check as well as a physical exam for that person, Powell said.
Powell said the city hopes to hire a new police chief by mid-October at the latest. The position has been a revolving door since longtime chief Ronald Davis left in November 2013 to serve as the director of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) in Washington, D.C.
While the city has searched for a permanent replacement for Davis, three interim chiefs -- retired heads of other police departments -- were hired consecutively. Each was allowed to serve in the position for only 960 hours while retaining retirement benefits with the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), and two of the interim chiefs reached that limit.
Most recently, Steve Belcher, a retired Santa Cruz Police Department chief, took over in late June.
Saturday's meeting will be held in the council chambers at City Hall, 2415 University Ave., East Palo Alto.