CLAYTON — The St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners is casting a wide net in the county police department for candidates to replace Chief Jon Belmar. But it’s not ruling out picking a chief from outside the department, either.
The board said Friday it will take applications to be the next police chief from a field of officers at the next two highest ranks: five lieutenant colonels and 18 captains. The applications are due by March 11. But board chairman William Ray Price Jr. said, “We are not ruling out an expanded search later on, if it came to it.”
The search is underway because Belmar is retiring on April 30 after a six-year tenure. He announced his departure on Feb. 10, hours before the county finalized a settlement to pay a gay lieutenant $10.25 million for a workplace discrimination case.
The police board held the first of three “listening sessions” on Wednesday to hear from residents about what they would like to see in his successor. The board was told that people want a new chief they can trust. About 20 residents told the board they wanted a chief with integrity, who requires officers to know their community, and who has a good rapport with the St. Louis County Council.
The next session will be Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Pavilion at Lemay, 305 Gregg Road.
The board has not released any other criteria for Belmar’s replacement. Price said: “I think each commissioner will judge for themselves which candidates are best suited to be the next chief.”
Belmar is the eighth chief since the department was founded in 1955. All of them have been white males.
The first four, Albert E. DuBois, Raymond W. Hensley, Robert J. di Grazia and G.H. Kleinknecht, were recruited from Philadelphia; Kansas City, Missouri; Novato, California; and Huntington, West Virginia.
The next four, Ron Battelle, Jerry Lee, Tim Fitch and Belmar, were promoted from within. Lee and Fitch were selected from pools of candidates that included captains, but the board only considered three lieutenant colonels when it selected Belmar in 2014.
In addition to a résumé and a description of off-duty activities, the candidates must write three essays of less than 500 words:
• Why do you desire to be the chief of police?
• What are the key issues currently facing the county police department?
• What are the key issues facing the county police department in the next five years?
Price said the board may also ask for additional information, including financial disclosures, background checks and psychological examinations.
The officers who can apply are:
• Lt. Col. Kenneth Gregory, deputy chief
• Lt. Col. Troy Doyle, commander of the division of operational support
• Lt. Col. Jeff Bader, commander of the division of special operations
• Lt. Col. Mike Busalaki, commander of the division of criminal investigations
• Lt. Col. Bryan Ludwig, commander of the division of patrol
• Capt. Jason Law, commander of the Jennings Precinct
• Capt. John Wheeler, commander of the Central County Precinct
• Capt. Mary Barton, commander of the West County Precinct
• Capt. Tim Cunningham, commander of the North County Precinct
• Capt. Jim Schneider, commander of the South County Precinct
• Capt. James Mundel, commander of the Wildwood Precinct
• Capt. Melissa Webb, commander of the Affton-Southwest Precinct
• Capt. Norman Mann, commander of the Fenton Precinct
• Capt. Mark Cox, commander of security services
• Capt. Chuck Boschert, commander of drug enforcement
• Capt. John Blake, commander of the intelligence unit
• Capt. Tim Tanner, commander of the bureau of professional standards
• Capt. Juan Cox, commander of the bureau of strategy and risk management
• Capt. Gerald Lohr, commander of tactical support
• Capt. Guy Means, commander of the bureau of logistical support
• Capt. Scott Melies, commander of the bureau of transit police
• Capt. Kevin Lawson, commander of criminal identification
• Capt. Steve Sack, commander of the communications bureau
Updated at 4:53 p.m.