Apparently lots of people want a shot at becoming the next Omaha Police chief.
Sixty-nine applicants have come from the following 25 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
Officials say they’ve delayed plans to select a chief until August (instead of June), partly because they wanted to attract more candidates from outside the agency.
Eleven of the applicant’s are current Omaha officers. That includes Interim Police Chief David Baker.
It’s not the most diverse bunch of applicants, demographically-speaking. The candidates are nearly all male; only six applicants are female. The applicant pool is also largely white. Fourteen applicants say they are black or Hispanic, while one is of Asian descent.
The number of applicants in the pool isn’t particularly surprising for a city the size of Omaha, said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, D.C. The think tank has assisted with police chief searches in Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and Kansas City, Mo.
The smaller the city, he said, the more applicants. Only 30 applied for the Los Angeles job. “People self-select themselves out,” he said.
At the same time, a city is better off having five or 10 superior applicants than hundreds.
“The number of applicants says very little,” Wexler said. “What you’re looking for is the quality and the experience.”