Forty apply for police chief post

Forty persons have applied for the chief’s position with the Pine Bluff Police Department, Mayor Debe Hollingsworth disclosed in an emailed update on Monday. The application deadline in the nationwide search is Wednesday, July 31.

The mayor also announced that Evelyn Horton, Wanda Neal, Rev. Kerry Price, Rev. Jesse Turner and Doug Smith have volunteered to serve as a review committee. Hollingsworth will preside over the panel.

Horton is Hollingsworth’s chief aide, Neal is a retired state employee, Price is a former Pine Bluff police officer, Turner is director of the Interested Citizens for Voter Registration group and Smith is a retiree and a member of the city’s crime advisory committee.

“Their goal is to glean through the qualifications of each application with the sole purpose of locating the most qualified person for our city,” the mayor said of the committee members. “With regards to the outcome of our search, the overall interest in our city has been overwhelmingly positive. It is imperative that we appoint the most qualified person, with the greatest professional suitability, to lead us in a new direction for improving ‘quality of life’ and ‘quality of place’ living.”

The mayor termed the importance of the committee’s assessment of each applicant “crucial.”

Hollingsworth said the job has attracted applicants from Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Jeff Hubanks, a retired PBPD lieutenant, is serving as interim chief. The permanent position became vacant when Hollingsworth fired former chief Brenda Davis-Jones on Jan. 1, shortly after the newly elected mayor received her oath of office.

The Commercial requested the names, places of residence and current occupations of applicants, but City Attorney Althea Hadden-Scott said that information was not immediately available.