Wilson to Announce Interim Chief at Thursday Press Conference
by Rene Leon
Posted on December 5, 2007
City Manager Joyce Wilson will announce her appointment of Interim Chief for the El Paso Police Department Thursday afternoon at City Hall.
Wilson would not disclose her choice before Thursday’s press conference, but she did say all members of the command staff of the department are potential candidates. “All of the command staff is eligible and qualified,” she said, adding that no candidate expressed disinterest in the position, though she said some were more “proactive” in seeking the job than others.
Chief Richard Wiles announced last week that he would be retiring from the department on Dec. 26. Wilson said the interim chief would be acting in official capacity beginning next week so that he or she could overlap with Wiles to aid in the transition.
Leading the command staff under Wiles are Chief of Staff Diana Kirk and Assistant Chief Paul Cross. Under them are Deputy Chiefs Greg Allen, Kenith Adcox, Tom Whitten and Eric Shelton.
“That’s been the problem, that there’s been too much noise about this position,” Wilson said. “In a way, that’s really detrimental to the department and to the team,” she added.
Because of widespread speculation as to who may be appointed interim and what type of structure would be set-up before a permanent candidate was selected, Wilson said she made her decision sooner, rather than closer to Wiles’ official retirement date.
“When you start having media leaks, and the media talking about who might not be qualified and who’s qualified, and people making inquiries that were not really constructive in terms of dividing the candidates, I think that’s really inappropriate,” Wilson stated. “It needs to be done so we can bring it to closure and get the transition started, because the level of frenzy about it is unusual, frankly. I’ve never seen anything like this for any appointments in my entire career.”
Wilson said she previously has been involved in either appointing or being involved in the selection of two police chiefs in the cities she worked in prior to her arrival in El Paso, one of them, Arlington, Va., being, as she called it, a “9/11 city.”
She admits that the upcoming race for El Paso County Sheriff may have something to do with the media frenzy surrounding the appointment – Wiles is widely considered to be a potential candidate, and several retired EPPD officers have already announced their intentions to run – but she believes people are surprised at Wiles’ retirement. “I think that kind of caught people off guard,” she said.
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