Police commissioner’s search committee aims to pick top three candidates from 30 applicants

Chuck Wexler, CEO of the Police Executive Research Forum, which partnered with the committee to help identify strong candidates, said the initial application phase was successful over 30 apps.

“Our hope in this work is to make it difficult for this committee to choose just a few candidates because they will all be highly qualified,” Wexler said. “We look, where did they go? What is their experience? Do they have union experience? The committee was very clear about looking for someone who understands what is happening in policing right now and the need for change.

After his team conducts a preliminary screening to identify candidates who best fit the committee’s community-informed criteria, Wexler will send the top candidates for careful consideration by committee members.

“We’re going to get it right,” Hines said. “It’s so important that we won’t shut down the process unless we do everything we think is necessary to vet the nominee individually, politically and in every possible way.”

The search firm and committee said they were considering candidates within the Boston Police Department and chiefs of police departments other cities. They declined to name specific candidates.

A mix of internal and external candidates ensures a full pool of candidates, Wexler said, but stressed that local and national candidates would be held to the same high standard.

“They won’t get a free ride because they’re coming from within,” Hines added. “We’re going to talk to everyone about the same issues, and [may even establish] a certain set of questions that will be asked of each candidate, so that we have some uniformity in the answers to assess people.

In addition to soliciting applications through an online job posting, Wexler’s company consulted with numerous minority police leadership organizations across the country in an effort to recruit strong candidates who might not not be initially attracted to the position. Boston’s efforts come at the same time a number of other major cities are also conducting national searches, he said, so his team has taken an aggressive approach to recruiting a diverse slate of strong candidates.

“The job ad was written very intentionally and I think it had the effect of attracting the right people,” said Rebecca Neuburger, executive consultant at Wexler who focuses on research in Boston. “But we also contacted the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, the Center for Policing Equity and the Massachusetts ACLU Executive Director, and got a lot of very good information [on potential candidates] in this way.”

As they begin to evaluate the candidates, the committee and search agency representatives remain optimistic about finding a “transformative” leader, one who can embrace the moment and embrace the opportunity.

“The thought is that we want to give him [Wu] at least three equally qualified candidates if we can,” Hines said. “There will be no one on this list that none of us are afraid, ashamed or worried about. Then the job will be done, and it won’t be done until it happens.

Ivy Scott can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @itsivyscott.

Brandon D. James