Officials thin police chief search to 5 candidates

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LAPD > New chief will be tasked with rebuilding department

By Tris DeRoma

From a list of what was purported dozens of hopefuls, County Administrator Harry Burgess said the list has settled on five candidates for the job of Los Alamos police chief. The candidates are scheduled to be in town Sept. 12 and 13 for interviews.

Names of the candidates are due to be released Tuesday.

“We’ve got our questions ready to go and interview panels put together,” Burgess said.

Burgess said the candidates will be interviewed by three panels.

“One will be members of my office, another will consist of county senior management officials and another one will be made up of representatives from other entities that the chief will have to work with, including the lab (Los Alamos National Laboratory), JJAB (Juvenile Justice Advisory Board), the schools and such,” he said.

They narrowed it down to five through limited background inquires as well as a detailed review of all the materials they were asked to submit, including applications and resumes.

“It’s just been about their qualifications, credentials and experience they’ve exhibited in their applications,” Burgess said.

The county began its search earlier this year for a new chief, shortly after LAPD Chief Wayne Torpy announced his retirement. Torpy, 56 at the time, had a heart attack and a stroke in November, and returned to the job briefly before announcing his retirement.

At the time he said “it was the hardest decision in his life he ever had to make,” but he was confident in his decision because he said he felt it was the right thing to do.
“My health is not what it was a year ago, and for the good of the county, for the good of the department and for my personal well-being I had to take a hard look at everything,” Torpy said. “After 36 years in law enforcement, the signals are telling me it’s time to move along,” he said.

However, the plans that had been laid for a smooth succession of command to Torpy’s right-hand man, Cmdr. Randy Foster, went awry when the results of an internal investigation led to Foster’s dismissal, and a lawsuit being filed against the county by another officer.

Foster’s Santa Fe attorney, George Geran, said recently that Foster would also be filing suit against the county in the near future.