HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington Mayor Steve Williams has a long list of qualifications he wants to see in the city’s next police chief.
Current Chief Skip Holbrook announced last week he has taken the top law enforcement job Columbia, South Carolina. His last day on the job will be April 7.
Mayor Williams said the new chief will have big shoes to fill.
“I need a leader. I need a cop. I need someone who has command experience. I want somebody who knows how to deal not just with the public but also the media. Someone who has demonstrated integrity,” the mayor told MetroNews.
Williams said Holbrook has all those qualities and the city won’t take a step back when hiring his replacement.
“I’m not interested in somebody who has just done things the way they’ve always been done,” according to Williams. “What we seek to do in Huntington is create innovative ways to address old problems and set standards for others to follow.”
Williams has appointed a 10-member committee to head up the search. The first goal is to determine the exact qualifications they’re looking for in a chief, advertise the position and then accept applications for about 3 weeks. When it comes to offering the position to someone don’t expect a quick decision.
“I’m not going to be in a hurry,” stated the mayor. “We’ll find someone who is of [Holbrook's] caliber. If we have to wait to find that person then we’ll wait. One thing we’ll have to be is patient.”
In the meantime, Williams has named former Huntington police officer Jim Johnson as the interim chief. He is currently a member of the mayor’s staff as a community liaison.
“I have a great deal of trust in him. He knows the operations of the police department. He knows the operations of city government and knows people throughout the community.”
Johnson will not be a candidate for the full time position.