Huntington making broad search for new police chief

Steven Sifford
Steven Sifford

HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

HUNTINGTON, Texas (KTRE) - Bruce Milstead looks over applications, searching for someone to be Huntington's next police chief.

"Not right here at Christmas and everything else, no I did not expect this," the city manager said. "We're short a police chief, we're also short a police officer too."

After 11 years Chief Steven Sifford resigned. Now, so far, five people are trying to take his spot.

This is the first time Milstead has been involved in the hiring process and he says they're using a new strategy.

"I don't want to knock a young person out of an opportunity," Milstead said.

Milstead says in the past they've required several years of experience to apply for the chief position, but he says this time around, as long as the candidates have their peace officer certification and they meet state requirements, they'll be considered for the job.

"You've got to start somewhere, someone has to give you a chance and what's to say a person that's 30 years old doesn't make this their home," Milstead said.

Residents say they don't mind a young person carrying the badge.

"That's fine," Gary Feldpausch said. "We probably need one that we can hang onto for a while."

"New blood, I think it'd probably deal with the younger people better maybe than an older person would," Helen Bryan said.  "There are a lot of teenagers here and there isn't much to do, so we need somebody to kind of ride hard on them."

"Somebody like Stephen, likes the kids," Gregory Back said. "The kid thing is a big deal."

Character is also a big issue when it comes to the new chief.

"I would want a police chief that is honest and straightforward with the people, be with one person as he is the other where class does not matter," Feldpausch said.

Milstead says when you're on a tight budget, youth can be a plus.

"They have a lot more energy than I have, so yeah there's some advantages," Milstead said. "There's some advantages, you know, from a financial point of view for the city, may work a little cheaper or you may get a little bit more bang for your buck."

A small town, but it's a big job and by the beginning of the year the badge could belong to a new young chief.

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