Search for new Gilford police chief starts with call for volunteers to serve on committee

GILFORD — Selectmen are asking for volunteer residents to serve on a committee to help select the next town police chief.

The search committee will be tasked with reviewing applications, selecting candidates for interviews and making recommendations on finalists for a process that will commence in January of 2014.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said yesterday that the vast majority of the decisions, discussions, and interviews made by panelists will be in non-public sessions under the provisions of RSA 91-A:3, or the N.H. Right-to-Know law.

The need for a full-time permanent police chief was triggered by last week's resignation of former Chief Kevin Keenan.

Keenan was placed on a paid administrative leave on August 29 and in the weeks immediately following his leave, Lt. James Leach has been acting chief. Lt. Kris Kelley has been acting deputy chief.

The Police Department employs 17 full-time sworn officers and two part-time officers. Both the selectmen and the Budget Committee have given tacit approval for an 18th uniformed officer to be added to the ranks.

As well as sworn officers there about of six full-time civilian staff and dispatchers. The department does all of its own dispatching.

Selectmen have also given the nod to a $1.2 million addition to the existing police station at Town Hall, although the Budget Committee has yet to vote on it. There is an presentation to the Budget Committee by the architect on January 9 at 6 p.m.