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Search for chief of police begins
By Chris Strunk
Last Updated: August 17, 2017

Valley Center's efforts to get a police chief are moving forward.

City Administrator Scott Hildebrand said this week the city has advertised the open position on several websites and has received a number of qualified applicants.

The city plans to accept applications through Aug. 18, narrow the candidate pool and begin interviewing finalists later this month.

The chief's position has been vacant for eight months.

Mark Hephner resigned in December 2016 after a former sergeant was arrested and charged with sex crimes against minor girls.

The city, which commissioned a study of the police and fire departments before the arrest and resignation, had been waiting on the results of the study.

After receiving initial results earlier this summer, Hildebrand began advertising for the chief's position.

The study's full results were revealed during a city council meeting Aug. 15.

The consultant, Matrix Consulting, recommended hiring a police chief that would be in charge of all public safety, including the fire department.

Hildebrand said the city plans to hire a chief and then discuss job descriptions, allowing the new chief to have input on how the departments should be supervised.

Robert Finn with Matrix recommended adding a sergeant position for third-shift supervision and upgrading a part-time records clerk position to a full-time job.

Matrix also recommended that the city add two full-time firefighters to its roster and develop a 12-hour staffing schedule supplemented by volunteers. The city's budget includes the addition of two firefighters.

In other business Aug. 15, the council:

•Heard library director Janice Sharp say the library staff has started to address money-handling procedures the city's financial auditor identified as problems.

•Appointed Mayor Laurie Dove and Gina Gregory as voting delegates and Kristine Polian and Scott Hildebrand as alternates to the League of Kansas Municipalities Sept. 16 through 18 conference.

•Learned that residents who do not want to receive Wichita Eagle advertising fliers thrown on their driveways can register their addresses with the company that delivers the fliers. Information was to be made available on the city's website.

•Learned that a speed study conducted in the Prairie Lakes neighborhood was completed and it found that the average speed for the 85th percentile of vehicles was 22 to 24 mph. The city council took no action.

•Approved the next-lowest bid of $15,592 to repair the roof of the old public works building. The previously approved lowest bidder withdrew from the project.

•Heard a report on a proposed $2.9 million upgrade to the wastewater treatment facility.

•Gave first-round approval to the standard traffic ordinance and the uniform public offense code.

•Approved spending $3,243 for a underground water leak detection survey, which will help the city prioritize pipeline replacements.

•Approved contributing $3,000 toward a Valley Center Recreation Commission project to install split-rail fence along Emporia near the Valley Point Golf Course to prevent parking on city park property.

•Approved the closure of the 200 block of West Main from 3 to 10 p.m. Sept. 9 for the Main Street Valley Center Food Trucks on Main Street event.

•Approved spending $1,704 on computer equipment for the Public Safety Building.

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