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Decatur’s interim police chief has been named sole finalist in police chief search

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Decatur’s interim police chief has been named sole finalist in police chief search

Scott Richards. Photo provided by the Decatur Police Department

Decatur, GA  — The city of Decatur’s interim police chief Scott Richards has been named the sole finalist to become the next police chief.

The city initiated an extensive national recruitment process after the retirement of former Police Chief Mike Booker, who served as chief for 15 years. The Decatur City Commission is expected to appoint Richards at the next board meeting on April 18.

Richards began his career as a police officer with the city of Decatur in 1994 and has served in various capacities throughout his tenure. He has served as deputy police chief since 2016, prior to being appointed interim police chief in April 2021. Richards received a bachelor’s of science degree in criminal justice from Georgia State University and a master’s of public safety administration degree from Columbus State University, according to a press release.

The national search process began in July 2021 and the city worked with GovHR.

“Right off the bat, we took three weeks and the recruiters held internal and external stakeholder interviews and outreach activities,” City Manager Andrea Arnold said at the April 4 city commission meeting. “Really any kind of group or stakeholder we could identify, they were included on the front end of the process. From there, we also had a community survey that was distributed.”

The purpose of the public engagement was to gauge the community’s desires and needs for their next police chief, Arnold added.

The application was open for a couple of months and were submitted in December 2021.

“From there, the number of candidates, upon review, was whittled down to a group of candidates that were then involved in what we called one-way interviews. These were video interviews answering a series of questions. There was an all-day assessment center where, again, a smaller group of candidates were put through real life situations and scenarios, and judged by a team of public safety peers.”

The candidates also participated in two panel interviews with representatives from the community and city staff. Arnold additionally conducted one-on-one interviews with the candidates.

“I appreciate the patience of the commission and the community as we made sure this was an in-depth, thorough, far-reaching process to ultimately bring us here to finding the best person for this job and that’s Scott Richards,” Arnold said.

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