CHESTER, VT. PD CHIEF RECRUITMENT
A search is underway for the next Police Chief for the Town of Chester, Vt. The current Chief is retiring end of the year (2022). This presents an opportunity for a community policing oriented public safety official to move Chester Police Department (CPD) to a 21st Century model of public safety. The search is being directed by the Town Manager Julie Hance with the assistance of JW Leadership Consulting. The goal is to attract the right candidate to move the CPD forward. The next Chief will have the opportunity to advance the tenets of 21st Century policing that will strengthen the CPD and play a key role in building collaborative coalitions to address underlying issues effecting the community.
Chester seeks an individual who has strong leadership and communication skills. The most qualified candidate will not only demonstrate strong leadership, but be prepared to build collaborative coalitions and relationships that will put forth a clear strategy on how to address the public safety needs of Chester. The top candidate to become the next Chief must show an understanding of current justice systems issues and how to address them in a professional and positive manner. In addition, the selected candidate will need to rebuild staffing and create a professional development strategy for staff. Foremost, the new Chief must be able to build upon the trust in the community, in the justice community and with the staff of CPD. This is a working Chief position with the Chief expected to cover shifts and respond to calls for service.
Chester has a strong Town Manager form of government. The Town Manager answers to a publicly elected five member Select Board. The Chief of Police is appointed by and answers directly to the Town Manager. There currently is no form of police citizen advisory role in town government, although consideration is being given to creating an opportunity for a citizen advisory role.
Chester is a quaint New England town. The town is located in the southwestern corner of Windsor County. The reported population is approximately 3,005. The average age is 54 years old and the population is approximately 97% Caucasian. There is a defined senior citizen population in the community. There are reported to be 1793 housing units in the town. The median income in 2020 was $58,462. The workforce is made up a combination of self- employed, private industry, government positions and tourist/service trade. There are 135 employers in Chester.
The land mass of the Town covers approximately 55 square miles and has nearly 97 miles of secondary/unpaved roadways. Chester is served by Vermont Routes 103, 11, 10 and 35. The routes are key points of traveling for tourist and visitors to Vermont, especially at the height of foliage, ski season and summer travel. Although Interstate 91 does not pass through the town, it serves as feeder to the other state highways that cross Chester.
The town is in close proximity to several ski areas including Okemo, Stratton, and Killington. The area offers other recreational opportunities to include boating, fishing, swimming, golf, hiking and snowmobiling. There are cultural opportunities to include the Hearse House Museum, art galleries, antique shops, visual arts and historical buildings. Chester offers a community of great restaurants, comfortable B & Bs, and interesting shops. The green in the center of Chester is home to festivals and gatherings. Chester is a short drive to the so called Upper- Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire that offers access to world class health care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth College. Springfield’s Black River Innovation Center, a center focused on becoming the “Silicon Valley of the Upper Valley”, is a short drive away. The town host a grade school and a high school that maintain excellent working relationships with the CPD.
The crime rate in Chester is low, but faces some of the same challenges as other community with issues around social disorder driven by underlying social challenges. The next Chief of Police will play a significant role in maintaining the quality of life in Chester.
THE POLICE DEPARTMENT
The CPD is comprised of five fulltime police officers and one parttime officer. The CPD recently recruited two more part time officers who will need to be certified by the Vermont Criminal Justice Council. There are possible opportunities for growth in staffing. The CPD is dispatched through the Vermont State Police at the Westminster Barracks. The assigned work shifts do not span a twenty-four period, although an officer is always on call. The Chief is the focal leader of the CPD is considered a working Chief. The CPD is supported by a fulltime Administrative Assistant.
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
The next Chief of the CPD will need to have a proven track record as a visionary leader, being transparent and a history of trust building through collaborative coalition building. The candidate will need to understand the concept of procedural justice for the community and members of the CPD. The Chief will need to be a forward-thinking individual that understands the importance of creating a culture of safety by creating clear statements of Mission, Vision and Values. The candidate must demonstrate an understanding of 21st Century Policing and be able to apply best practices that are appropriate in today’s policing profession. The Chief must be able to demonstrate an understanding of how the CPD can engaged the community in the co-production of public safety in Chester.
In a recent survey of the community the top five traits identified for the next Chief are: integrity, accountability, justice (procedural), transparency and empathy.
The identified candidate will be tasked to identify and develop a strategy to create a community policing model. That strategy will be part of collaboration with the community and the members of CPD.
The new Chief will have a minimum of five years’ experience in a direct supervisory role. The ideal candidate should be able demonstrate an ability to manage a department the size and scope of Chester. Ideally, the best candidate should have leadership training. Experience should include developing strategies to build community coalitions that raise the safety of communities and address pressing issues in the community. In addition, candidates must have experience working in a similar governing structure.
The selected candidate must be certified or able to be certified as a police officer in Vermont. The candidate must be willing to submit to an extensive background investigation to include a polygraph (if not Vermont certified).
Possession of a minimum of an Associate Degree is preferred. Executive level training in executive leadership development is desired.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
This is a position that serves at the will of the Town Manager. The ideal candidate will be offered a negotiated contract that will include compensation and benefits. The salary range is $78,000-$84,000.
The compensation package includes:
· Full Health Insurance package (100% coverage) with all premiums, copays and deductibles provided. An opt-out option is available at 40% of the full premium
· Municipal Retirement in Group C
· Competitive Vacation time allowance
· Sick time provided at 96 hours per year
· Short and Long Term Disability
· Life Insurance Policy – $25,000
Voluntary Benefits Include:
· Flexible Spending Account
· Life Insurance Policy through New York Life
· Deferred Compensation program
· Dental Insurance
· Vision Insurance
THE SELECTION PROCESS
A cover letter, current resume, three professional references and three personal references should be submitted to Julie Hance, Town Manager, P.O. Box 370, Chester, VT, 05143 or [email protected]
All candidates’ cover letter and resume will be screened for qualifications. All qualified candidates will be ranked based on qualifications. Those candidates that rank highest will be screened by virtual interviews. The top candidates will then be interviewed and assessed by a panel comprised of representatives of the community and CPD. The top two finalists will then be invited for a community visit during which a public meet and greet will occur. The final decision will be made by the Town Manager.
All application materials must be received by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 14, 2022.