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With the retirement of Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, the Police and Fire Commission has the very important work of finding the next police chief.

One of the first decisions will be whether to conduct a national search or simply keep the selection internal to the department. If the decision is to keep the search internal -- then waste no time and proceed expeditiously.

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On the other hand, if the decision is to conduct a national search, then I strongly encourage the PFC to hire a firm or association that regularly conducts such searches. Search firms are familiar with police chiefs and command staff from around the country. They know the individual’s history, availability and capabilities. These groups (such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police or Police Executive Research Forum) would help promote the city and current situation to candidates that match the criteria the PFC will set.

These associations also have experience with process. Given that only one current member of the PFC was on the commission when the last chief was selected, and given that the PFC attorney will be handling her first chief-hiring process, some experience would be beneficial. The group selected also will have a national perspective and guard against any allegations of a political hire.

Sue Riseling, associate vice chancellor and former UW-Madison chief of police

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