UPDATE: Public interviews for Cleveland Police Chief finalists - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Public interviews for Cleveland Police Chief finalists

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The final three candidates for the Cleveland Chief of Police will be interviewed Wednesday, September 9, and the public is invited.

Questions from citizens are encouraged, and can be submitted in advance via email to the city’s police consultant, Larry Wallace until noon, Tuesday, September 8.

The public is invited to view the interviews in the Cleveland Municipal Building’s City Council Room. 


PREVIOUS STORY: The search for a new Cleveland Police Chief is down to three finalists. A long-term chief has been hard to find after scandal rocked the Cleveland Police Department two years ago when allegations surfaced that the longtime chief had been having an affair.

Since then, the department has had a hard time keeping a positive light in the headlines, with two officers being put on leave earlier this month involved in a sex scandal.

Now, the Interim Police Chief Mark Gibson, the Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol and the Knoxville-based Highway Patrol Captain Jessie Brooks believe they can make a big difference in the department.

All three candidates should be prepared for several rounds of intense interviews over the next few weeks. 

"It's not fair for us to expect the community to just forgive and forget, it does take time and we'll take those steps," said Interim Chief Mark Gibson.

The three finalists all say what the police department really needs, is to regain trust with the Cleveland community.

"We have to work to build that trust, we have to do proactive policing, we have to get out there and earn the public's trust back," said Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol.

The three finalists in the running to take over the Cleveland Police Department understand it will be a challenge.
    
Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol says the decision to look outside Red Bank was tough. He was one of the last to apply.

"I may be able to make a larger impact, a different impact, at the Cleveland Police Department," Christol said.

Interim Chief Mark Gibson is a Cleveland native and has been with the department for 18 years.

"We just need some normalcy, a regular command staff structure and just kind of a light at the end of the tunnel and that's where I'll start."

The third candidate is 59-year old THP Captain Jessie Brooks of Knoxville. He says THP has a retirement age of 60, but Brooks is passionate about policing and thinks he could help the Cleveland community.

The three finalists have a combined 96 years of law enforcement experience and all bring big ideas to the table.

 "Regardless of what position I hold in this department," Gibson said, "This community and this department is important to me."

"There are really good people in that police department that just want to come in and do their job everyday, and they need somebody that's willing to lead them and let them do their job," Christol said.

The City Manager's office says the next few weeks will consist of extensive background reviews and several more interviews with all three candidates. 

The city hopes to have a new police chief by October 1st. 
 

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