JAMESTOWN — Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he’ll be appointing an Acting Police Chief for the Jamestown Police Department.
Sundquist, during a City Council Work Session meeting Monday, said he’ll be accepting internal letters of intent for the acting position through this Friday. He says the acting chief would serve following the July 10 retirement of current Police Chief Harry Snellings.
The Mayor told the council that the hiring process of the permanent police chief will be “much, much longer” in an effort to find “the right person.” He says the process will be opened up for the entire month of July to both internal and external candidates.
Once his office vets the applications to make sure they have the necessary qualifications, Sundquist says he’ll be constructing a recommendation committee consisting of Councilmembers, members from the Jamestown Police and Fire Departments, and community members.
Sundquist says he’ll have the committee help him narrow down the number of candidates to a top three list. He adds that he wants the process to be “inclusive.” From there, Sundquist will appoint a Chief to be confirmed by City Council.
WNYNewsNow reached out to Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson for his take on Snellings’ retirement, along with the search for a new police chief. He says both the acting and permanent Chief will have a challenge ahead of them.
“That’s a big job. Chief Snellings made it look simple,” Swanson said. “Filling that spot will be no easy task for whoever is tasked to do it. They manage the department that generates the majority of our cases in this county. There’s plenty to manage in Jamestown. Chief Snellings did it very well.”
“I don’t know that you have that great, or at least I didn’t, have that great of an appreciation just for what the Chiefs of Police and the Sheriff, and Captain (Eric) Balon (New York State Police) do until you sit down in my chair and you speak with them on a regular basis, and begin to understand the things they’re dealing with and managing.”
Swanson says Snellings “managed to foster a decent relationship with the community he served and with the Mayor he worked under.”
“That’s not easy to do,” he added.
The county’s top prosecutor says he’s “looking forward” to working with whoever is appointed as the next Chief.
WNYNewsNow reached out to Sundquist’s office for clarification on the status of the City’s Public Safety Director position. We did not hear back as of publish time.