UPDATE: 10 Finalists named for Cleveland police chief - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: 10 Finalists named for Cleveland police chief

Posted: Updated:
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

Ten finalists have been named for Cleveland police chief after an interview committee met this morning.

The finalists are all in-state and include five local candidates including acting Cleveland Police Chief Mark Gibson.

“I am honored to ...have been chosen as one of the top ten finalists to proceed in the Chief of Police selection process," Gibson said in an email. "I know the panel will choose the best individual for the job. All I want is the best for the Cleveland Police Department.”

Janice Casteel, city manager, said the committee members will begin reviewing backgrounds of each candidate. Candidates will also undergo background checks.

 “We were extremely pleased that so many qualified candidates applied for the position,” she said in a released statement.

Below is a complete list of finalists:

  • Chattanooga Police Capt. Nathan Vaughn
  • Chattanooga State Community College Police Department Chief Stephanie Hill
  • Cleveland Police Interim Chief Mark Gibson
  • Madison County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Anthony Heavner
  • McKenzie Police Chief Craig Moates
  • Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Michael Bledsoe
  • Red Bank Police Department Police Chief Tim Christol
  • Tennessee Highway Patrol Capt. Jessie Brooks
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Police Department Chief Craig Hamilton
  • Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Thomas Parker

While acting as chief, Gibson has had to deal with accusations of two officers having extramarital affairs this week. A woman involved with one of the officers is now saying she was sexually assaulted. Both officers have been placed on leave.

Dennis Maddux was the city’s last chief. He only served one day on the job after an incident came to light involving another officer's wife.

In 2014, Chief Wes Snyder retired after accusations surfaced that he was having an affair in a storage unit.

The committee will rank the candidates in the coming weeks after interviews and a written test. Casteel will have the final say on which candidate lands the job.

The city expects to have a chief in place by October 1. 


Five local police chiefs, a captain who oversees the Violence Reduction Initiative in Chattanooga and a former FBI agent are among applicants to become Cleveland Police Department’s next top cop.

Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol, East Ridge Police Chief James Reed, Chattanooga Housing Authority Police Chief Felix Vess, Chattanooga State Community College Police Chief Stephanie Hill and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Police Chief Craig Hamilton all submitted resumes by the July deadline that ended Friday.

A total of 36 applicants are vying for the police chief vacancy, including two internal candidates – Interim Police Chief Mark Gibson and Officer Jon Collins, who previously worked at Bradley County Sheriff’s Office as a major.

Eleven of the applicants are local – including Chattanooga Police Capt. Nathan Vaughn and former FBI Agent Wayne Jackson.

Nearly three quarters of the applicants reside in Tennessee.

Others have applied from as far away as Somalia, St. George’s County, Md. and Lubbock, Texas.

After a couple chiefs were caught up in scandals and had to exit the department within the last year, some applicants touted ethics and integrity.

“I highly value integrity and honor in law enforcement … something which the CPD sorely needs,” said Police Chief Max Meyer of Brooklet, Ga., who applied for the job before the position was posted. “The city is a truly beautiful place to live and work, and the citizens deserve better than being the perennial laughingstock of the state for police incompetency and misconduct.”

Others spoke about the scrutiny law enforcement already faces.

“We must create an environment in which mistakes and missteps are minimal and correctable and we must be transparent in our actions to address them,” said Red Bank Police Chief Christol in his cover letter.

Janice Casteel, city manager, said this week the city’s human resources director and consultant to help hire a new chief – former TBI director Larry Wallace ­-- will review all of the materials submitted by the applicants.

All of the materials will be given to a four-person hiring panel composed of Casteel, Wallace, Lee University President Paul Conn and Cleveland Chamber of Bradley Commerce Chairman Robert Bradney.

Casteel said the job description for police chief will be broken down into a checklist. Each candidate will have a box checked for one of the following: not qualified, qualified and highly qualified as it applies to each field.

Candidates will undergo background checks in the coming weeks.

Once candidates for the job are classified, the panel will discuss which ones to bring in for the next phase which includes a written test. Casteel estimates that will happen sometime in September.

Casteel will have the final say on which candidate gets the job and does not need city council approval.

The city has a tentative hire date for a new chief by October 1. The starting salary for the pay grade begins at $76,664 but goes up to about $124,000.

The city’s last chief, Dennis Maddux, served one day after an incident involving another officer's wife.

Before Maddux, David Bishop served for 13 months before retiring in February citing medical reasons.

Wes Snyder retired from the department in 2014 after 10 years as chief, amid allegations of an affair in a storage unit.

Gibson, who held the rank of captain before becoming the acting chief, is the fourth person to run the department in the past year.

The list of candidates for the chief of police in Cleveland:

  1. Interim Chief Mark Gibson- Cleveland Police Department
  2. Officer Jon Collins – Cleveland Police Department, former major at Bradley County Sheriff’s Office
  3. Robert Renegar -  former commander at Cleveland Police Department
  4. Bill Dyer – director of safety at Check into Cash – U.S. Money Shops, former captain at Bradley County Sheriff’s Office
  5. Chief James Reed – East Ridge Police Department
  6. Chief Tim Christol – Red Bank Police Department
  7. Chief Felix Vess – Chattanooga Housing Authority Police Department
  8. Chief Stephanie Hill – Chattanooga State Community College Police Department
  9. Chief Craig Hamilton – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Police Department
  10. Capt. Nathan Vaughn – Chattanooga Police Department
  11. Wayne Jackson – ERMC vice president of security and investigations, former FBI investigator
  12. Chris Mathes – director of public safety at Universal Protection Service in Johnson City, former sheriff of Carter County in Tennessee
  13. James Paris – former Mason Police Chief in Tennessee
  14. Capt. Anthony Heavner – Madison County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee
  15. Capt. Jessie Brooks –Tennessee Highway Patrol in Knoxville
  16. Staff Sgt. Justin Powers – TN Army National Guard, president of JDPowers Investigative Services
  17. Sgt. Raymond Sides – Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee
  18. Detective Michael McCullough – Roane State Police Department in Tennessee
  19. Capt. Dwayne Hayes – Dickson County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee
  20. Capt. Larry Lindsey -  Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee
  21. Capt. Michael Bledsoe – Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee
  22. Chief Frank Tennant – Millington Police Department in Tennessee
  23. Jeffrey Cassidy – teacher at Science Hill High School, former captain at Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office
  24. Bryan Graves – former deputy chief of Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee
  25. Chief Craig Moates – McKenzie Police Department in Tennessee
  26. Capt. Thomas Parker – Williamson County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee
  27. Chief Max Meyer – Brooklet Police Department in Georgia
  28. Assistant Chief James Shavers – Lubbock Police Department in Texas
  29. Child Protection Specialist Kevin Curreri – UNICEF, United Nations in Somalia
  30. Capt. Douglas Reece – Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in Florida
  31. Arthur King – former deputy police chief of Winter Park Police Department in Florida
  32. Deputy Chief Robert Baer -  Gladstone Department of Public Safety in Missouri
  33. Stephen Abbington – former chief of police at Wellston Police Department in Missouri
  34. Barry Brewer – area sales manager for Bluegrass Uniforms and Equipment Company, retired captain from Florence Police Department in Alabama
  35. Commander Ronald Oliver – Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office in Maryland
  36. Dennis Brown – consultant at Arrive Management Group, former police chief or director of public safety at the following locations: Newberry, SC;  Folly Beach, SC; Wilton, ME; Windsor, VT; Salem College and Academy
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