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City of Arlington announces 5 finalists for police chief

Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington will be searching for new police chiefs at roughly the same time.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The city of Arlington is inching closer to naming a new chief of police after officials named five finalists Monday evening.

One finalist serves in Baltimore County, Maryland, another is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and three already serve the Arlington Police Department.

The final round of interviews and an evening community forum are planned for Thursday, Oct. 29.

Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington are searching for new police chiefs at roughly the same time.

First, Arlington's police chief Will Johnson announced his retirement in April and left in June. Fort Worth Chief Ed Kraus said in July that he was retiring and would stay through the end of the year. Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall announced in September she plans to stay with the department through the end of the year.

Arlington Police Department

The community forum will be held at the Esports Stadium Arlington and Expo Center from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Residents can submit questions early or during the event.

Attendees must wear a face covering and pass a temperature screening.

The city hopes to extend an offer to a new chief by the end of October or early November, the city said.

The five finalists:

Alexander Jones, Police Colonel of Baltimore County Police Department where he has served for 25 years. He oversees the Community Resource and Wellness Section, the Youth and Community Service Section, and the Employment Section. Jones has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Hartford and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Ashworth College.

Jaime Ayala, Assistant Police Chief of Support Operations Bureau with Arlington Police Department where he has served for 31 years. In 2014, Ayala reached the rank of assistant chief of the Support Operations Bureau, which oversees four policing divisions including the Central Investigations Division, Community Support Division, Technical Services Division and the Operations Support Division. Ayala has a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from the University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree in communication studies from Texas Christian University.

Jason Lando, Commander of Investigations Branch/Narcotics & Vice with Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, where he has served for 21 years. Throughout his career, he has served in patrol, undercover narcotics, SWAT, as a crisis negotiator, and a Procedural Justice trainer. Lando has a bachelor’s degree in emergency medicine from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in legal studies from California University of Pennsylvania.

Kevin Kolbye, Assistant Police Chief of Arlington Police Department. Kolbye has 37 years of combined experience in the Dallas Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Arlington Police Department. He joined Arlington in 2015 at the rank of assistant chief responsible for a range of divisions including Intelligence and Criminal Investigations, SWAT, Crime Scene, Homeland Security – Special Events, and Training and Recruiting, the city said. Kolbye has a bachelor’s degree in business administration – accounting from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in criminal justice and strategic studies from Tarleton State University.

Tarrick McGuire, Deputy Police Chief of Arlington Police Department, where he has served for 17 years. He served as a Law Enforcement Fellow with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to contribute to public safety research and reform on 21st Century Policing in Washington D.C. McGuire has a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in Christian leadership from Criswell College.

The city began searching for a chief on June 1 after Chief Will Johnson announced in April that he was planning to retire after 23 years of service with the city. He was appointed chief in 2013. The city received 74 applications from public safety professionals.

Two of the department's assistant police chiefs, Jaime Ayala and Kevin Kolbye, have been leading on an interim, rotating basis since Johnson's retirement. They are among the final candidates.

On Sept. 15, 10 finalists were announced.

The recruiting process includes three rounds.

Round 1: screening and interviewing candidates in early September via phone and virtually.

Round 2: Semi-final, in-person interviews scheduled for mid to late September. Semi-finalists will be interviewed by a stakeholder panel, which may include members of the City’s executive leadership team, community stakeholders and employee representatives, the city said.

Round 3: Final, in-person interviews scheduled for mid-October 2020. Finalists will participate in final panel interviews with the Office of the City Manager, as well as participate in a community forum where the public will be able to ask questions.

There are 398,854 citizens in Arlington as of April 2019, according to the Census Bureau.

The city currently has 661 sworn personnel.

Dallas Police Department

Chief Renee Hall resigned from her position in early September and will stay with the department through the end of the year. She was the first woman to serve as chief.

Many leaders said they were looking forward to the new search. In Dallas, the city manager selects the police chief, rather than city councilmembers.

When the city was searching for a chief in 2017, City Manager T.C. Broadnax assembled five panels of various community stakeholders and partners to participate in the interview process.

In her letter of resignation, Hall wrote that she has received inquiries about "future career opportunities" in recent months.

"As you can imagine, for many reasons, I must keep my next career step confidential," Hall wrote in the letter.

Hall has been chief of the Dallas Police Department since 2017.

Dallas is the ninth-largest police department in the country with over 3,131 hired officers, the department said.

There are 1.3 million citizens in Dallas as of July 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

RELATED: Dallas police Chief Reneé Hall announces resignation

Fort Worth Police Department

Chief Ed Kraus was appointed chief in December 2019 and has served with the police department for 28 years. 

Kraus had been interim chief since former chief Joel Fitzgerald was fired in the summer of 2019. The city was scrutinized for not conducting a nationwide search for a new chief.

Now, the city has begun a nationwide search for Kraus' replacement.

In September, the city shared a survey to learn what traits and characteristics that citizens want in the new chief.

Fort Worth is the 13th largest city in the country with 909,585 citizens, as of July 2019.

RELATED: Supporters and critics react to resignation of Fort Worth Police Chief