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Middletown still searching for police chief

MICHAEL MACAGNONE STAFF WRITER

Middletown will have to wait at least another month to get a new police chief.

Since Chief James Kane retired on June 1, the township has been without a chief. Township Manager Stephanie Teoli Kuhls said the department’s two lieutenants are running the department while supervisors continue their search for a replacement.

Teoli Kuhls said the township has narrowed the field to five candidates from the 60 who applied.

“At this point, if all goes well, we could theoretically have a candidate (for the supervisors to vote on) by the end of July,” she said.

Supervisor Tom Gallagher said he has been impressed with the candidates so far, and is fine with the delay. Given the importance of the job, full due diligence is warranted in choosing a chief, he said.

“Sometimes, you have to go the extra mile and make sure you are doing the right thing,” he said. “I think we are doing everything possible to get the right candidate the right fit for this position.”

The supervisors contracted with SafeCity Solutions for $11,000 in February when Kane announced his impending retirement. Teoli Kuhls said then that the search should end by June, but the selection process has been pushed back to give the candidates and supervisors more time for the process.

Teoli Kuhls said the supervisors will use the answers from a questionnaire to narrow the field to three finalists by July. She said those three will be called in for in-depth interviews with the supervisors and a simulated decision-making exercise before the board makes its final decision.

Kane was named chief in August 2010. His salary at retirement was $126,000. Before being named chief, Kane led the department to state accreditation in 2008. He also initiated and led the township’s D.A.R.E. program for several years.