2 Springfield Police Division leaders among 7 candidates for next chief

Law enforcement leaders from Dayton, Columbus and Fairfield Twp. also in running

Springfield is another step closer to selecting its next police chief, with two Springfield Police Division leaders among the pool of seven candidates advancing in the selection process.

The City of Springfield posted the official job opening in late September, following the announcement that current Chief Lee Graf would retire at the end of the year.

The list of candidates provided by the city includes two current employees of the Springfield Police Division: Capts. Allison Elliott and Michael Kranz.

Numerous external candidates also applied for the position:

  • Timothy Becker, deputy chief, Columbus Police Division
  • Robert Chabali, chief, Fairfield Township Police Dept.
  • Brian Johns, major, Dayton Police Dept.
  • Jennifer Knight, deputy chief, Columbus Police Division
  • Kelly Weiner, deputy chief, Columbus Police Division

A total of 29 applications were submitted by the deadline on Friday, Oct. 28, with an additional three submitted afterward, according to a city press release.

The 32 applicants included law enforcement personnel from Bellefontaine, Camden, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Trumbull County, Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, the city said.

City manager Bryan Heck said in a release that narrowing the list of applicants to a smaller candidate pool was “no small task.”

“It wasn’t surprising to see the level of interest the applicants showed in joining our community. Springfield, Ohio is on the rise and other communities nationwide are taking notice,” he said. “It’s exciting to see our community receive so much positive feedback.”

Springfield’s next police chief will earn between $105,000 and $135,000 annually, according to the job posting.

The city has employed a local government consulting firm, Baker Tilly, formerly known as Management Partners, to assist with recruiting.

The search process began weeks back with input from various groups sharing thoughts on qualities they would like the next police chief to possess, as well as what issues they believe are law enforcement priorities for the community, Baker Tilly special advisor Greg Horn said.

Groups that participated included city leadership and staff members, members of the three local police unions, and roughly 40 people in community groups geared toward finance, justice and equality. Also participating was the Community Police Advisory Team (CPAT).

Some themes were commonly voiced among the groups: communication, visibility and approachability, to name a few. Groups also said ideal candidates should have experience in a diversity of aspects in law enforcement, Horn said.

After gathering input from staff and community partners, the firm launched a nationwide search for applicants, including internal submissions.

Baker Tilly collected the applications, which will then be turned over to City Manager Bryan Heck. Those candidates will be reviewed and interviewed by City officials and will then be moved to an assessment center process conducted by the consultant.

Candidate interviews are being scheduled now, according to the city. At the conclusion of those interviews, four to six candidates will be selected to advance to an assessment center process conducted by Baker Tilly.

The next police chief will be selected by Heck and affirmed by the city commission, according to the release.

Graf was appointed chief in December 2017. A decorated Marine Corps veteran, Graf has been with the department since 1996.

In his tenure, he rose through the ranks, serving as sergeant in the Community Policing Unit; lieutenant in the Uniform Patrol and the Professional Standards divisions; and captain of Uniform Patrol.

He is credited with launching community policing initiatives that include the Citizen Police Academy and the police substation at 17 W. Johnny Lytle Ave, according to the city.

“I have full faith and confidence that this community will continue to be well-served in the capable hands of my fellow officers after my departure,” Graf said during the city’s announcement of his retirement.

By the numbers:

32: Total number of applicants for the police chief job

7: The candidates who are moving forward in the selection process

2: Internal candidates who are moving forward in the selection

About the Author