Archive for Thursday, July 29, 2004

Basehor narrows list for police chief

July 29, 2004

It is just a matter of a few weeks before Basehor will name an official chief of police, Mayor Joseph Scherer said Tuesday.

The overall applicant pool, comprising more than 30 candidates from across the country, was recently trimmed to just three finalists, Scherer said. Initially the search committee, composed of himself, City Administrator David Fuqua and Council member Keith Sifford, trimmed the list to seven finalists. That committee conducted interviews with those finalists during the course of the last week and trimmed the list to just three. Scherer said two of the remaining finalists will be interviewed this week.

Scherer said he is pleased with what he has seen throughout the process so far.

"Overall, the quality of candidates has been excellent," he said.

Both Scherer and Fuqua agreed that the committee will probably be able to make a recommendation to the Council for approval by mid to late August.

"I would like it to happen as quickly as possible, as long as the candidates remain as good as we think they are," Scherer said.

Sgt. Martin Cigich, an 18-year veteran of the Basehor department, has acted as interim chief since former chief Vincent Weston resigned in March.

Since Cigich has taken over, "The department has maintained professionalism and a dedicated commitment to the city of Basehor," Scherer said.

Overall, the department has stayed busy this year, with Cigich at the helm for the vast majority of the period. The 458 calls that the department fielded through the end of June is 109 more and 24 percent greater than the number that was handled during the same period in 2003. So far this year calls are up by 33 percent, 149 in all, over the numbers from 2002.

"There are probably a lot of factors in the increase," Cigich said. "One could definitely be the city's population increase."

While the Basehor officers have been busier this year than in the past, it may often go unnoticed by the average citizen, police/municipal clerk Tracy Myracle said.

"I don't think they are given enough credit," she said. "I hear (some people say) that this is a speed trap town. They don't get to see a lot of the work that isn't related to traffic stops and that goes on behind the scenes."

While traffic stops are certainly part of a day's work, Myracle said traffic stops often can reveal a driver with a suspended license, a lack of insurance or possession of drugs.

This past Saturday, officer Lloyd Martley made his third arrest on suspicion of DUI in the past two weeks. Martley arrested a 48-year-old Basehor woman after he noticed her passenger car weaving in traffic at about 2:30 a.m. July 24. The woman subsequently failed a field sobriety test, a preliminary breath test and was arrested on suspicion of DUI. She is scheduled to appear in Basehor court Aug. 10, along with two other male drivers Martley arrested on July 10 and July 13 respectively.

For the time being, the department will wait along with everyone else for the decision on the new chief. In the mean time, Cigich said he is pleased with how other officers have acted under his leadership and in the absence of a permanent chief.

"The reason it has worked so smoothly is that we have a lot of good experienced officers working with us now," Cigich said. "I am proud of them. They are doing an excellent job and have made my job easier."

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