Search for Police Chief Expands
JEFFERSON COUNTY -- After five months without a police chief, Mt. Vernon is widening the search for a successor.
Longtime Chief, Chris Mendenall, retired back in February. As of now, the job remains vacant. The city council just opened the position to candidates outside the department on Monday. They're considering any and all candidates. The final decision though, rests with the police and fire commission.
“We aren't a council that just goes out and makes changes quickly,” Mayor Mary Jane Chesley explained.
Assistant Police Chief Chris Deichman has been in charge in the meantime. He will likely be considered, but no other official candidates have been named.
“I'd like to see a chief that will get in there and look for ways that the department can be improved and maybe modernized more,” added Mayor Chesley.
Longtime resident Norma Bourdan just wants a decision quickly.
“I'm surprised that it's been that long,” Bourdan said about the five months of vacancy.
She'd prefer someone already on the force; one invested in the community. That's why she disagrees with external candidates having a shot.
“I just don't feel that you should do that whenever you've got good, capable employees and dedicated policemen,” she said.
Bourdan is happy with the current police department, but has noticed an uptick in crime throughout town.
“Years ago there were places I would walk, around the whole town, and feel safe. Now there are places I wouldn't walk on, you know, because I would be afraid to,” said Bourdan.
It’s why she wants to see a new chief in place quickly. She's heard others say the same.
“I think the longer it goes, the harder it's gonna be,” Bourdan advised.
The city has just started accepting applications for police chief. You can apply to the Mt. Vernon city manager.
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