West Jefferson is still in pursuit of a new chief of police.
The village has been without someone serving permanently in the post since former chief Terry Ward was placed on paid leave on Nov. 28 with no other explanation from mayor Ray Martin than: “There are a number of different factors.”
Ward, who had been in the position since 2012, unexpectedly announced his retirement on Dec. 12.
Lt. Gary McNeal was tapped to serve as the interim chief until a permanent fix is in place.
There are currently 11 candidates in the pool for consideration, two of which came from internal applications.
Some applications came from as far as Texas and Indiana, with the majority coming from Ohio.
Each interview will take approximately one hour.
The deadline for applying is now closed, according to Martin.
He welcomes input from village residents on the matter. “My number is out there — people can call me or send me their thoughts in an e-mail if they want,” he said.
The interview process for the internal applicants has been completed. The interviews for external applicants will be held on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9.
Ultimately, the chief position will be decided by the mayor. Martin hopes to announce his pick at the Feb. 19 village council meeting, but warns that that date is just a goal.
“I am not getting into a rush. I want to provide the best for the village because the best is what the village deserves,” Martin said.
Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.