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Four candidates remain in search for new Roanoke City Police Chief

ROANOKE (WSLS10)-- The City of Roanoke could have a new Police Chief in the next two weeks. WSLS10 has been following the search process closely since former Chief Chris Perkins retired in February. Since then, a nationwide search has been narrowed down to just a few candidates.

Background checks and reference calls are happening right now for the final four candidates. Once that process is complete, a new Chief of Police will be named.

The nationwide search has lasted for several months. The application process came to a close at the end of May-- since then, the City Manager's office has been working hard to find the right person to fill the position. In all, 43 applications were submitted from across the nation. Those were narrowed down to just eleven finalists that met all of the qualifications for the position.

City Manager Chris Morrill says those applicants participated in video interviews, giving city leaders a closer look at their individual personalities.

"You're actually sitting in front of a computer screen, a question comes up and you answer it by talking into the screen," says Morrill. "It gives us a good sense of the candidate's ability to present and their communication skills. We get to really see what they think about community policing and how they build relationships. It's a very good process to narrow it down."

The four candidates remaining are a mix of internal and external applicants. There is at least one candidate that already works for the Roanoke City Police Department, a candidate from Virginia and at least one from outside of Virginia.

All of those candidates have been brought into the Star City, interviewing with two separate interview panels and the City Manager. It's a process that has taken several months and a lot of hard work, but Morrill says it's one of the most important decisions he makes as City Manager and he's not taking it lightly.

"With something like this, you want to do a very thorough background check, check with references, look at all of their materials and get good input from the Citizen's Panel and Internal Panel," says Morrill. "Taking all of that into consideration to make the best choice."

There are certain qualities that the Police Chief must have, including experience with mental health, a community builder and involvement with the schools.

The new Chief of Police will be announced within the next two weeks and we can expect them to be on the job by early August.