Four months after being sworn in as mayor, Todd Jordan finally announced his advisory committee to help select the next police chief. The formation of this committee was expected within the first weeks of his administration, but Jordan pushed it off for a myriad of reasons.
For the most part, Jordan picked a solid group to select the city’s next top cop. The committee is racially diverse, includes two former chiefs, and has both community and business leaders on it.
There is one glaring problem, however: No women were included.
Jordan reportedly approached multiple women who turned down his invitation, so it wasn’t for a complete lack of trying. However, it is impossible to believe that after four months, Jordan could not find a single qualified woman willing to be a part of the committee.
This is a bad misstep on a high-profile issue. It doesn’t negate the point of the committee or the credentials brought by the members, but it shows a lack of awareness that should be rectified in the future.
Nevertheless, with the committee announced, they wasted little time getting to work. So far, members have met twice to review the 26 applicants for the job. They will take the lead on evaluating the applications and recommending candidates to be interviewed. Jordan has pledged to consider only candidates recommended by the committee.
There is already speculation that two candidates have risen to the top, despite the advisory committee just being formed. On one hand, that could make it appear that the committee is more for show than to actually lead the search process. On the other, what really matters is that the committee does a thorough job vetting and interviewing the most qualified candidates.
If any rumored favorites are found to be lacking, the committee can discover that. If not, then the committee’s recommendation is another assurance that the selection process has been thorough and multifaceted.
At the end of the day, it is up to the mayor to hire the police chief. Jordan did not have to create an advisory committee. He could have made the selection with little to no input and submitted it to the City Council, which would have most likely accepted any reasonable selection.
So, yes, the selection process has taken longer than expected, and the committee should have included at least one woman. But — all things considered — Jordan has shown that he is serious about finding a police chief with support from a diverse representation of the community. For that, he should be commended.
Editor's note: The Rev. Richard Price, who was appointed to the police chief search committee, is a community member of the Daily Journal Editorial Board. To avoid a conflict of interest, he was not involved with this editorial in any way.