New police chief could be selected soon

Published 4:04 pm Saturday, July 24, 2010

The city of Austin is getting closer to having a new police chief.

Three finalists are set to be interviewed by a City Council committee on Thursday, and a finalist should be selected soon after that. Council could then potentially approve a new hire — contingent on him passing both a physical and a psychological examination — as soon as Aug. 2, which is the next regularly scheduled council meeting date.

Vying for the spot are two external candidates and a current Austin Police Department detective.

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The two external candidates are Jeff McCormick, who is currently chief of police in Cannon Falls, Minn., and Roger Pohlman, a lieutenant in Grand Forks, N.D.

The internal candidate is Brian Krueger, a 26-year veteran of the force who, along with Lt. John Mueller, has filled the chief’s void on an interim basis since January. That was when then-chief Paul Philipp retired after an internal complaint was filed against him. Details of the complaint have not been made public, though Philipp has said that it involved alleged “misconduct.”

The former chief said in a written statement released that month that the allegations were “largely untrue and unfounded,” and the city concluded the investigation without taking disciplinary action in February.

Whoever is selected as police chief will not be the only new chief in town. Michael “Mickey” Healey, who previously worked with the Portage, Mich., Fire Department, started as Austin’s fire chief on July 12.