WACO, Texas – The City of Waco is reopening their search for a new Chief of Police after COVID-19 put the search on hold.

The City of Waco is launching a nationwide search for the position of Chief of Police. The opening occurred when former Chief Ryan Holt was promoted to the position of assistant city manager. The city halted a previous search for a new chief in June.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the rapidly changing environment in public safety, created a situation where we wanted to have more time and substantially more community input in the selection process,” said City Manager Bradley Ford. “The fact that department veteran Frank Gentsch was available to fill the position as acting chief will give us time for a thoughtful and thorough search.”

The city has engaged Strategic Government Resources (SGR) to assist in the search. One change in the process will be the creation of four Stakeholder Panels drawn from a wide cross section of the community. The panel members will be meeting with SGR to help create material for a Position Profile Brochure for recruitment. The panel members will also have an opportunity to interact with potential candidates prior to the final interviews with city leaders.

“We want to make sure everybody has a say-so and what they’re thinking,” Waco City Spokesman Larry Holze said. “You’re gonna get various inputs on that, and we want to make the right decision as we start marketing this.”

The search comes amidst a year when protests nationwide are erupting due to police brutality and misconduct. The city hopes the new chief can build a good rapport with the community.

“The police are not, in many communities, looked at as being part of the community and working for them. They think they’re working against them,” Holze said. “Waco takes the other attitude, and we want to continue that and expand that as we go.”

Holze believes Waco PD’s solid reputation will make the position a sought after one.

“I can’t help but think we’re gonna get a lot of great potential candidates, knowing they would like to be a part of a successful, well-established, well-accepted police department,” Holze said.

Current plans call for initiating the search in early October, with a finalist to be selected early next year. The City has launched an online survey asking its residents what traits and priorities they would like to see the next police chief possess.  This survey will be available through October 9th.