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Roanoke City moves to next phase in search for new police chief

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ROANOKE (WSLS10)-- The search continues for a new Roanoke City Police Chief after Chris Perkins announced his retirement earlier this year. The application process officially ended at midnight on Tuesday-- now the City will begin screening the dozens of candidates applying for the position.

The constant change of technology is making it easier for people to find jobs online and quickly apply. The City of Roanoke was able to launch a national online campaign, getting candidates from all across the nation to apply for the position.

"It's much easier to do," says City Manager, Chris Morrill. "Someone sitting in their house in Florida or California can easily fill this out and provide all of the information, so it does make it a little easier to recruit for this."

There have been more than 40 applicants for the position, both internal and from police departments nationwide. Now that the deadline to apply has officially closed, it's time for the City Manager's office to start sorting through the applications.

"We'll really look through it, see who meets the minimum qualifications and start the initial prescreening," he says. "We'll get down to a group of twenty to thirty and from there, we can start getting down to the final ten. We'll probably do some online interviews. We want to weed it down to three to five candidates."

And from there, two separate panels will interview the final candidates. One panel will be made up of officials, like the Police Chief from Chesapeake and the assistant city managers. The other panel will be made up of citizens and community leaders in the Star City. There have already been discussions about qualities that will be important for the new chief.

"Last time I think there was more of an emphasis on data and analysis," says Morrill. "This time, it's more of someone with stronger interpersonal skills, empathy and really strong communication skills both internally and externally. You can see with the list we've put together and that's what we're focusing on. I would say communication is more critical than it's ever been."

Other qualities on the list include experience with mental health impact on crime, a community builder and involvement with the schools.

Interviews will take place this month with a decision expected by mid-July. By August, Roanoke City can expect a new Police Chief to be on the job.