Joe Piccinini’s Halloween retirement surprise as Lee’s Summit’s chief of police set lots of things in motion over at City Hall.
First, Piccinini joined two other department heads – City Attorney Teresa Williams and Chief Technology Officer Randy Dickey – in leaving their respective posts.
Replacing one department head is a heavy task. Three at once can be overwhelming.
There seemed to be a brief scuffle over whether or not the city was going to go “national” with a search for the next chief of police.
My assumption – which turned out to be correct – was that it would.
And with the announcement last week that Major Scott Lyons would assume interim duties after Piccinini’s final day, Jan. 17, 2014, the city also noted in its press release that Lyons would act in that role while a national search was done.
Four of Piccinini’s officers, including Lyons, have been promoted to major under his watch.
Lyons made major in 2008, along with Curt Mansell. John Boenker and Mark Taylor were both promoted to major in 2011.
I am sure any of Piccinini’s majors would fill this important role with the work ethic and professionalism we have come to expect out of our very large and very visible police force.
The Lyons pick in the interim may signal he has slight advantage, if he’s indeed interested in the job on a long-term basis.
The “national” search also signals that a city the size of Lee’s Summit is open to looking outside of its comfort zone for the best possible candidate. And looking at the résumés of all our current majors, our best candidate may already be wearing an LSPD badge.
Some want to, or cannot help themselves from, reading a lot into the announcement the city will conduct a national search for police chief. Perhaps it was premature of me to speculate on that so soon after Piccinini made his surprise announcement.
But now it’s out there.
We may never know what, if any, internal struggles and power-plays are going on inside the PD right now. We can hope, though, that politics and personal agendas stay far away from any selection process and that when the dust settles, our next chief of police continues the course that Piccinini has set during his tenure at the helm.
Lyons is, certainly, a solid pick to fill those shoes on provisional basis.
It will be interesting to watch and see what kind of candidates come out of a search that goes nationwide.
John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lees Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.