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McKenzie to Hire New Police Chief

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

CARROLL COUNTY, Tenn.- Leaders in McKenzie officially started their nationwide search for a new police chief, Friday.

It was in December that former McKenzie Chief Bobby Pate retired after his motorcycle accident in April. McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that Assistant Chief Kim Barker has been filling in as interim chief since April. Mayor Holland said the city will be conducting a Nationwide search with the help of MTAS, the Municipal Technical Advisory Service.

"It really makes a difference in getting the person for the right job," said Mayor Holland. "A lot of times on a resume you might think this looks like a great person but until they actually go through the assessment center and personality test that can tell a lot of things that don't show up on a resume."

Each candidate will be required to pass through a series of assessments such as personality screenings and emergency roll play events. Some residents said the nationwide search breaks the city's tradition of promoting a police chief from within the police department.

"This nationwide thing in my opinion is crazy. I mean it shouldn't be," said resident Larry Blaylock. " What we want here is somebody that we trust and I think that the people that's in our police department are good people, they've been around McKenzie all of their lives and know the people around here."

This is the first time, according to the mayor that the city has conducted a nationwide search for a police chief.

"It's always been within the department if you can't trust the other police in the department to be chief what does that say about the other police, that's the way that I look at it, " said Baylock."

Mayor Holland said she believes the new selection process is fair. and that city leaders will not settle for anyone who is less than perfect for the position in McKenzie.

"We wanted the process to be very fair and open and consistent and part of the 21st century," said Mayor Holland.

All applications for the position need to be turned in by the city's April 1 deadline. Holland said it is her belief that McKenzie's current Interim Chief Kim Barker will apply for the assessment program. Holland said the city hopes to have an official chief by the end of May.

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