When it was revealed that Missoula Police Chief Mike Brady had retired as of the end of November, the City of Missoula issued a press release introducing the finalists in the search for a new chief.

Only one is from the Missoula Police Department, and he is also the only candidate from the state of Montana, the other four include two from Washington, one from Missouri and one from California.

A list of the finalists can be seen by clicking the link below.

Director of Human Resources for the City of Missoula Cathy Crego explained why the city had decided not to promote exclusively from within the department.

“I don’t think there’s any disagreement about the quality of potential candidates both within the police department, the sheriff’s department or other departments within the state,” said Crego. “I think this is such an important position to the community of Missoula and really adds to the culture and the town, and the leadership that it provides to the exceptional individuals who already work in the Missoula Police Department, that it seemed best to allow a process where we could look at all candidates and also importantly, for the community and the police department themselves to weigh in on the best candidates”

Crego said there was a feeling within the leadership of city government that the position should be opened to more competition, including individuals from out of state.

“Rather than just assuming and taking forth those really good candidates that we know we have, it was like ‘let’s kind of look at a competition and see what the community thinks about leading the police department',” she said. “It’s my understanding that the mayor had conversations with members of the police department encouraging them to apply, if they were interested in the position. I don’t know what individuals are thinking, but I certainly have not received any feedback that people didn’t apply because we went on a national basis.”

Crego described, aside from the prerequisite law enforcement background, the qualities that the search committee was looking for in a new chief of police.

“Someone who possesses really strong leadership qualities in terms of being able to listen to the community,” she said. “We’re also looking for someone who really embraces the principles of community policing, and that means really engaging with the community and what the community wants the department to focus on, so that’s also an important piece, along with honesty and integrity.”

Crego said a commitment to diversity is a priority for a new chief.

“We do have a great deal of diversity in Missoula and we want to make sure that we have a department that represents that, and also a chief that’s responsive to those diverse components in the community,” she said. “We talked about their leadership styles and principles and that sort of thing.”

The public will have two opportunities to meet and hear the final five candidates over two days, on Dec. 10 from 3 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. and Dec. 11 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., both in Room 151 of the Missoula County Courthouse. The forums will feature three candidates one day and two candidates the other day; each candidate will have 40 minutes of that block, and there will be a 15-minute break between candidates. Each candidate will give a presentation on a pre-assigned topic and then answer questions from the public.

The candidates will be interviewed by an interview committee comprised of the following people from the community:

Stacie Anderson, Missoula City Council

David Bell, ALPS Corporation

Dale Bickell, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Missoula

Meagan Bilbrey, Missoula Police Department

Steve Crawford, Chief of Police, Bozeman

John Engen, Mayor, City of Missoula

Mary Pat Hansen, St. Patrick Hospital Sexual Assault Review Team

Ivan MacDonald, filmmaker/researcher, Blackfeet Nation

Suzanne Peterson, police commissioner

Shane Sangrey, diversity specialist, University of Montana College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, and

Matt Stonesifer, Missoula Police Department.

Since Chief Mike Brady officially retired on November 26, Missoula Police Captain Mike Colyer is serving as interim chief until the new chief is in place. Colyer is not an applicant for the positio