City officials and community members questioned the five remaining candidates yesterday for the vacant position of Ann Arbor Chief of Police.
The finalists interrogated were David Bostrom, Bruce Chamberlin, Bill King and Ronald Schebil. The fifth candidate, Mary Rabadeau, was unable to attend most of yesterday”s proceedings.
Council member Jean Robinson (D-Ward I) said the daylong questioning helped her get to know the diverse candidates.
“It was an interesting experience seeing both people who are local, as well as those from outside,” Robinson said. “They all come from different experiences.”
The candidates, who hail from various parts of the country used their time to express ideas for the city and ways of interacting with the University. Their answers covered a range of topics including safety, domestic violence and racial profiling.
Bostrom, who has worked in Washington, D.C. with jurisdiction over several universities, including Georgetown, said the number of students in Ann Arbor does not intimidate him.
“The U of M has its own police force focused on student needs but I”m looking forward to working with them,” Bostrom said. “Students make up an important part of the city.”
Chamberlin, who has served as chief of police in Buffalo, N.Y., said he was very impressed by the city and if chosen, hopes to work together with students and residents.
“My approach has been laid back, but to still maintain order with equality,” Chamberlin said. “I”m not going to tailor action because of who someone is.”
King, who serves as deputy chief for the city of Ypsilanti, said the most important thing to him is communication between citizens and the police force on both a “filter-up” and “filter-down” direction.
“I would look at the community and see if there are issues that need to be addressed,” King said. “We need to make sure people understand our primary role enforcing laws.”
Schebil, a University alum who served as the Washtenaw County Sheriff until last year, said he remembers attending the University and understands some of the problems facing both students and the community.
“There is a huge difference between feeling safe and being safe,” Schebil said. “The University affects the community and will continue to I”d sincerely like to keep a balance.”
Mayor John Hieftje said the city is searching for a chief who is very articulate and understands the needs of the city.
“We want someone who respects the deep qualities and diversity of our city,” Hieftje said. “It has to be someone who recognizes our special qualities.”
Former Deputy Chief Walter Lunsford has been serving as interim police chief since Carl Ent”s resignation last January.
After the city hired the Police Executive Research Forum, an outside organization dedicated to recruiting applicants, 52 candidates were narrowed down to five finalists, said Susan Pollay, associate city administrator.
Today, the candidates will meet individually with City Administrator Neil Berlin, who said he hopes to make a proposal to the City Council by the end of February.