Wilkes-Barre Mayor Extends Search For New Police Chief
BY STEVE MOCARSKY
WILKES-BARRE — Mayor Tony George has extended his search for a new police chief beyond the ranks of the city police department.
George’s office issued a news release late Thursday afternoon announcing that the city is conducting a search to fill the position, which is currently held by embattled Chief Marcella Lendacky, who is set to retire June 3.
George announced Lendacky’s intent to retire on April 4 — the same day the administration released to council and the police union a scathing report on the police department’s operations and leadership following an assessment by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.
According to state statute — namely, Third Class City Code — the chief “shall be designated by the mayor from within the ranks” of the police department.
But, if “no qualified officer from within the ranks has applied for such designation, the chief of police shall be designated by the mayor from without the ranks,” the code states.
The code does not specify what would make an officer “qualified” to serve in the position.
It’s unclear if George believes that no one in the department is qualified to serve as chief of police or if he wants to cover his bases in case no qualified officer from the department applies for the position.
George did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
His assistant, Tyler Ryan, said the position is being advertised this weekend in two local newspapers including The Citizens’ Voice, on the city’s website, and with the Pennsylvania Municipal League, which will post the job on its Municipal Jobs Junction website.
Applications will be accepted through May 8.
“Qualified, interested applicants should forward a cover letter and resume that includes positions held, education, experience, history of policing responsibilities and accomplishments” to the city administrator, the news release states.
The release also states that job duties and qualifications for the job can be found on the city’s Human Resources web page.
Among the qualifications listed on the HR website are a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration or related field “or equivalent law enforcement experience” and/or be a graduate of “an advanced training course such as the FBI National Academy, Northwestern University School of Staff and Command, the Southern Police Institute or other recognized and equivalent law enforcement training.”
The bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and the examples of advanced training courses were specifically noted as lacking from Lendacky’s training and education in the Chiefs of Police Association assessment report.
Check back later for an updated story.
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ON THE WEB
The job posting and qualifications for the Wilkes-Barre Chief of Police position can be found at: https://www.wilkes-barre.city/sites/wilkes-barrepa/files/uploads/police_chief_-_may_2018.pdf