Fort Collins works to hire new police chief

Abby Currie

Since Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto announced his resignation on April 18 the City has been in search of a new chief.

Fort Collins Police Chief Terry Jones speaks to the City Council on behalf of the Fort Collins Police Department to report recent incidents within the community. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

According to a City of Fort Collins press release, retired Aurora Police Chief Terry Jones is currently serving as the interim chief.

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The resignation of Hutto in April followed two officers use of force. According to Kimble, the Surat case is set for trial in early 2018.

“The internal investigation and Citizen Review Board review have concluded for that case,” Kimble wrote. “The case regarding an off-duty officer conducting a traffic stop is still under internal investigation.”

The hiring process was delayed when the City terminated its contract with the previous firm in September, the press release said.

According to the City’s Assistant HR Director Janet Miller, the contract was terminated when inaccurate information regarding the City’s hiring process was provided to a potential candidate by a representative of the previous recruiting firm.

“The firm took full responsibility and apologized for the miscommunication,” Miller wrote in an email to the Collegian.

According to the press release the City has partnered with KRW Associates, a public-sector executive search firm, based out of Colorado Springs, to assist with the hiring process.

“KRW is assisting with executive recruitment efforts for the City’s next Chief of Police,” Miller wrote. “This includes developing a recruitment strategy and associated materials, candidate outreach and recruitment, supporting community and agency engagement and managing the selection process.”

The City will repost the position in December and will review candidates in early 2018, according to the press release.

According to Miller, the typical candidate review process consists of the following steps: review of applicants, categorization of applicants based on qualifications, additional screening by KRW, identification of a group to be brought to Fort Collins for interviews and selection.

There will also be community engagement opportunities provided to the public throughout the selection process, in order for public input.

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According to Miller, the City gathered information from the community about desired attributes, qualifications, experience, as well community priorities through an engagement questionnaire.  This material, as well as information provided during two community coffee talks, was used to prepare the recruitment materials and position profile.   

“Community engagement is very important and there will be additional opportunities for involvement throughout the process,” Miller wrote. “More definitive plans will be finalized in the coming weeks.”

According to FCPD Public Relations Manager Kate Kimble, the City of Fort Collins commissioned a report to gather data and analyze areas of opportunity within FCPS’ organizational culture. The third-party Novak Consulting Group conducted interviews, focus groups and surveys to develop a picture of the agency’s strengths and gaps, all of which were summarized in the report.

The report identified areas of success, areas for improvement and made recommendations for positive growth. The Executive Staff and managers throughout the organization have been working to integrate changes in a meaningful, sustainable way, Kimble wrote in an email to the Collegian.

“Some of these changes have included implementing the Character Counts Program which includes training opportunities around areas of cultural concern (i.e. inclusivity, ethics, and implicit bias training), building upon the consistency and transparency in the promotional processes and enhancing internal communication,” Kimble wrote.

According to Kimble the comprehensive analysis conducted by the Novak Consulting Group provided a strong springboard to strengthen their agency at all levels.

“FCPS has internal evaluation and monitoring systems along with being a learning organization, and we will continue to implement process improvements and enhance internal communication to resolve employee concerns,” Kimble wrote.

Collegian reporter Abby Currie can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @abcchic15