Search underway for new police chief

tporter@lsjournal.comMarch 5, 2014 

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    Months that it normally takes to fill a leadership position such as police chief, Lee’s Summit Deputy City Manager Brian Scott said.

The search for a permanent replacement for retired Lee’s Summit Police Chief Joe Piccinini is officially underway and the hunt will span nationwide.

Brian Scott, deputy city manager for Lee’s Summit, is handling the search. Scott said Piccinini set the standards high in his time as police chief.

“I think Chief left on a good note,” he said. “I think he did a lot of good for the department and for the community in the time he was here.”

The job posting for a new chief went public Feb. 28 and resumes will be accepted through April 14. Candidates will be whittled to a dozen or so from there, Scott said, adding the job posting has been listed on national and local law-enforcement related websites and publications as well as in traditional media outlets.

“We have an ad posted on the International Association of Police Chiefs’ website,” he said. “There is also an ad with CALEA (Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies) ... we have also sent the announcement to several Municipal Leagues around the Midwest.”

Lee’s Summit Police Major Scott Lyons is interim chief in Piccinini’s stead and is also a candidate for the position. Lyons stepped into the interim role Jan. 17 after the official retirement of Piccinini, who ended his tenure with the department after 30 years on the force – the last six as chief of police. Piccinini announced his retirement Oct. 31.

“We feel comfortable with what Major Lyons is doing in an interim role, but we also think that it’s important not only for the organization but the community as well to see what else is out there in terms of potential talent,” Scott said. “Not that we don’t have confidence in existing staff that they could step up and do the job, but we just wanted to see what else was out there with potential candidates that might have a different set of experiences and can bring a different perspective to the organization and the community.”

Lyons, an 18-year veteran of the department, was not available for comment prior to the Journal going to press March 4, but stated previously that his career goal has always been to be a chief of police.

“That has always been my aspiration in law enforcement,” he said in an interview last November with the Journal. “I come from a law enforcement family; a brother and a father that served and that’s always been a career goal.”

Much like Piccinini and Lyons, the new permanent chief will have to be a multi-faceted member of the Lee’s Summit community and a champion for the community-policing initiative instituted by Piccinini, Scott said.

“We’re looking for someone that has a pretty broad base if experience in managing a pretty complex police department,” he said. “We’ve got 143 sworn police officers plus civilian staff and a budget of $19 million. As you well know, we do a lot with the police department.

“We’re looking for somebody that has experience with community-oriented policing; we’re looking for somebody that has the ability to get out into the community and build relationships with our businesses and various community stakeholders and partners. That was an attribute the previous chief had.”

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