With two of three long-time deputy chiefs now gone to retirement, Oak Park has retained a national head hunting firm to identify qualified candidates to replenish police department leadership, Chief Rick Tanksley said Monday. That firm, Ralph Anderson & Associates, is one familiar to Oak Park village staff. The 33-year-old Rocklin, CA firm consulted on past recruitment searches for various village department heads.
Tanksley said the simultaneous retirement of two deputy chiefs presents both an opportunity and challenge to the village. While acknowledging the loss of some 60 years of combined experience, Tanksley noted that several senior police officials have already received the opportunity to showcase their own abilities. No acting deputy chiefs have been appointed, and Tanksley doesn't foresee that occurring, however several deputy chief duties are currently being shared among several commanders.
"This is an unprecedented opportunity for our command staff to step up," said Tanksley.
It's also an opportunity for Tanksley and other village administrators to look at who is available internally.
"I'm very positive and excited about the process," he said. "I want to take the opportunity to see what's out there."
But though the search will be national in scope, Tanksley stressed that he wouldn't be at all surprised to see some of the individuals currently filling in for the departed deputy chiefs on any final selection list.
"I fully expect members of my command staff to be at the top of any list," he said.
At least four senior village staff will work to make a final decision on the two new deputy chiefs, including Village Manager Carl Swenson, Ray Wiggins, a deputy village manager, Frank Spataro, human resources department head, and Tanksley.
Under village ordinance, Swenson will have final say in the appointments.
Tanksley himself should have heavily weighted input, according to Wiggins.
"I anticipate that the ultimate appointments will be supportive of Chief Tanksley's perspective on the top candidates," said Wiggins on Monday. "I don't anticipate that Carl and I would support an appointment that (wasn't) agreeable to the chief."
Besides professional qualifications, Wiggins indicated that diversity will continue to be an important element in any selection process.
"It's very important," he said. "Diversity is important in all appointments we make in the village."
Like Tanksley, Wiggins hopes to wrap up the selection process by the end of April. Typically, he said, selection processes for village management positions take 90 days.
"We don't want to take any longer than necessary," he said.
Likely to expedite the process is that the search firm staff member working with the village is familiar with the village. Tanksley said that a "well known and respected individual who was a former police chief himself" would be involved in the selection process. That individual is likely former Ralph Anderson Vice President Charles A. Rohre, who is now an independent affiliate of the firm. Before Rohre worked for Ralph Anderson, he attained the rank of watch commander in the Dallas police department, was public safety director in Highland Park, Texas, and police chief of Plano, Texas.
Besides handling the executive recruitment of police and fire chiefs in cities in Texas, Colorado, Minnesota and Florida, Rohre handled the executive searches for Oak Park's public works director, human resources director, village manager and village planner.