WEST FORK (KFSM) - The city of West Fork has been without a police chief since August, after former chief John Collins resigned. In the last week, three candidates have been offered the job, but all of them declined.
Sheriff Tim Helder is on the police commission that is helping with the selection process. He said they started with a pool of 24 qualified applicants, then offered the job to the top three. He said they will now move to the next three on the list and begin the interview process.
Helder said he thinks part of the reason they all turned down the offer is because of the job description.
"What we're asking a small town chief to do is to be an administrator, but also to be a working policeman, you're just as liable to find yourself during school traffic working a 4-way stop, or in the middle of the night having to cover for one of your officers who is sick and going out and working a wreck," the Sheriff said.
The five-person committee met Monday (Nov. 19) to contact the next three candidates. The commission plans to interview the candidates the first week of December. Helder said the commission members rate the candidates from 0-3 in 11 categories.
Some of the categories include knowledge of the justice system, being qualified to work as a police officer in Arkansas, and having a background in leadership.
Mayor Charlie Rossetti said he can't disclose why the candidates turned down the position, but said none of them listed the salary as an issue.
"They had different reasons, and they explained themselves, so we accepted that," Rossetti said.
One of the candidates who turned down West Fork's offer will be the new police chief in Siloam Springs. James Wilmeth's first day on the job will be December 8.
Rossetti said two of the three candidates they will be interviewing in December are from Arkansas. The third candidate is from Colorado.