Manteca could have a new police chief by the end of the month.
City Manager Karen McLaughlin said Wednesday that she will make a decision before the first of February, if not sooner. She has completed her interviews with the three finalists.
At the same time, Manteca is in the process of interviewing candidates to fill several vacancies created by retirements within the department. It is keeping with the promise the city management made that additional layoffs would not occur once the budget adjustments were made that cost 12 officers their jobs 26 months ago.
Captain John Orcutt has been serving an interim chief since the retirement of Dave Bricker in mid-November. Orcutt has originally tossed his name into the competition but pulled out before the original interview process started last year.
There are three candidates all of whom currently serve in the command structure of the Manteca Police Department.
A second panel was convened after concerns were raised whether it was proper for Bricker to offer to mentor in-house candidates on what they could expect to be asked during oral boards. The initial interviews had already been conducted when the issue came up.
McLaughlin - who ultimately has the final decision on who is recommended that the Manteca City Council hire - was not part of the original panel or the second panel that rated the candidates.
McLaughlin made the decision to redo the oral board to provide assurance of “the integrity of the system” and to remove any possible doubt about the fairness of the selection process.
McLaughlin actually will make a tentative pick. That final candidate must undergo a psyche test under state law before they can be hired as police chief.
All police officers undergo psyche tests when they are hired. California requires them again prior to officer being installed as a police chief.