CINCINNATI - Over-the-phone interviews are underway as the city moves toward hiring a new chief of police, officials said Thursday.
Interim Police Chief Paul Humphries confirmed to WCPO Digital he was interviewed by the the screening committee, a group comprised of members of the community as well as the city’s human resources staff to assist City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. in the selection process.
Humphries declined to elaborate on the interview process.
City officials also said that several others have been interviewed for the position within the last two weeks.
Officials said they want a new chief in place by the end of the summer, although recently they’ve said the city seeks to narrow the field to a few viable candidates by mid-September. The specific number of candidates that have been interviewed was not immediately available.
“The numbers of candidates and exact time frames are not precise as the committee and the City Manager have discretion based on the process as it progresses,” said city spokeswoman Meg Olberding.
Dohoney has consistently declined to comment on the police chief process.
The 11-member committee was formed and announced in late June to assist Dohoney in selecting a viable candidate for the job. The selection and hiring of the next chief of police is solely Dohoney’s. Hardy said applications will still be accepted through Dec. 31 or until the position is filled.
So far, 34 candidates have applied for the position with one withdrawal and three rejections. Screening committee members have been tight-lipped about the process; under orders from the city manager’s office not speak publicly about screening procedures.
“We will still accept them [applications], but you’re probably not in the initial review,” Olberding said. “The screening committee members have reviewed applications and are doing phone interviews with candidates as well. That process is ongoing over the next few weeks.”
All the candidates remain viable options until the position is filled, Olberding said.
So far this year, an uptick in violent crime has plagued some areas of the city, intensifying calls to hire a new chief quickly including Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls. Crimes of violence reported to Cincinnati police – homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults – are up by 3 percent through Aug. 17 compared to the same period last year.
Homicides are up 69 percent compared to last year, and 17 percent compared to the same period in 2011.
The police chief job posting, which went public in June, lists an annual salary range of $101,956.03 to $137,640.65 and offers 10 paid days off, a retirement plan and an 80/20 healthcare plan. It also mentioned the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission exam, which grants police officers arrest and citation powers. Former police chief James Craig, who accepted the police chief job in his native Detroit, earned $143,000 per year.