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Monday, Jul 21, 2014

St. Pete police chief search narrowed to 10

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The 10 semi-finalists for St. Petersburg police chief opening were named Friday, two of whom work for the department: Assistant Chief Luke Williams, the highest ranking black officer, and Assistant Chief Melanie Bevan.

Of the other eight, only two are working as police chiefs, albeit at smaller agencies than St. Petersburg, which provides protection for roughly 250,000 people.

Jerry Geier is police chief in Goodyear, Ariz., which has a population of 65,000, and William H. Heim, is chief in Reading, Pa., which has about 100,000 people.

Another candidate, Derrick Diggs, is a former chief in Toledo, Ohio, which, with 284,000 people, is larger than St. Petersburg. Diggs, an African-American with strong union support, retired last year after the incoming mayor said he would replace him.

The other finalists are:

- Robert S. Buckman Jr., a former chief deputy at the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Leesburg, Va.

- Craig S. Goralski, assistant chief for the Metro Police Department, which handles police protection for the transit authority in Harris County, Texas.

- Ronald Gray, deputy chief of the Homeland Security Subdvision for the Columbus, Ohio, Division of Police.

- Terrence Jay Pierce, police captain for the Montgomery County Department of Police in Rockville, Md.

- Thaddeus Reddish, assistant chief of the New Haven, Conn, Police Department.

Mayor Rick Kriseman, in an email to the city council, said during the next 45 days he would invite “key constituency groups” to city hall to review the semi-finalists, narrow the field to three or four contenders, and then invite each one to St. Petersburg.

Those finalists would have in-person interviews and appear at a public forum. Residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on the selection on-line.

sthompson@tampatrib.com. (727) 215-6504.

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