9/17/2013 8:34:00 AM Prescott Valley Police Chief finalists set to meet public
Ken Hedler Special to the Tribune
The three finalists for police chief will get a chance to meet people the Police Department protects during an open house this evening in the public library.
Town staff scheduled a private luncheon at noon with police employees at the police station, but the open house will be for the public from 5:30 to 7:30 tonight in the Crystal Room of the library, 7401 E. Civic Circle.
The finalists are Police Chief Keith Robert Lane of Haltom City, Texas, former Taos (N.M.) Chief Ken Koch of Dewey-Humboldt and Bryan Jarrell, who retired from the Southfield, Mich., Police Department in July.
The new chief might be hired as soon as a week from now, Prescott Valley Human Resources Director Karen Smith said. The finalists were culled from a field of more than 80 applicants nationwide, and underwent interviews Sept. 4.
Smith said the new chief could start as soon as two weeks or two months, noting Koch lives nearby and Jarrell is retired while Lane likely will have to give notice to his employer.
The successful applicant will replace Bill Fessler, who retired March 15 amid what he described as the "controversy" over his involvement in the Iron Brotherhood law enforcement motorcycle gang that took part in a brawl this past December on Whiskey Row. Cmdr. James Edelstein has served as interim chief since Fessler's departure.
Both Jarrell and Lane said they look forward to the open house and plan a long-term commitment as police chief if the Town Council hires them.
"I am looking forward to the rest of the (selection) process and hoping things work out well," Jarrell said Monday after arriving in Prescott Valley.
He said he plans to spend at least 10 years on the job as chief if hired.
"This is not a stepping stone for me," said Jarrell, who lives in Milford, Mich. "I do have 28.5 years of experience and education and training, but I am still young."
Jarrell started his career in Southfield in 1985 as a police officer and rose through the ranks to deputy chief of the investigations division in 2007.
Police chief since 2009 in Haltom City, Lane said he is "excited" about arriving in Prescott Valley.
He said today "should be the fun part of it, getting to meet the police employees and the public and taking a tour of the (town) facilities."
He said he "absolutely" would plan to retire in Prescott Valley if selected, adding, "It is the exact type of place where I want to be."
Koch could not be reached for comment Monday, but he previously said he quit the Taos Police Department in July because he was living apart from his wife.
Koch retired at the rank of deputy chief from the Flagstaff Police Department in May 2012 before taking the top post at the Taos Police Department in September 2012. He worked nearly 23 years for the Flagstaff Police Department.
The successful candidate will earn $98,668 to $138,160 a year, and oversee a department with an annual budget of $7.9 million and about 78 full-time-equivalent employees.