Casper Police

Casper Police Department patrol vehicles sit in a city lot in April on West A Street in downtown Casper.  

Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune

The search for a new Casper police chief is generating “a lot” of interest, the man in charge of hiring said recently.

Casper City Manager Carter Napier said the city had received 21 applications for the job by Monday morning, a week and a half after the position was posted on the city’s website. Napier said he was impressed with the applications he had already seen and characterized the high degree of interest as “encouraging.”

The city will continue to accept applications through Sept. 24.

The opening, which was officially announced Sept. 1, requires applicants to have spent five years in law enforcement and at least three in an administrative and supervisory role, to be the recipient of a Wyoming peace officer’s certificate and to hold a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is listed as preferred.

The posting describes a job with essential duties that include coordinating with other departments and agencies, maintaining a customer service demeanor with the public and directing “implementation of changes” to department methods, systems and procedures.

As the city manager’s office looks through applications, it is also awaiting the results of an external review of the police department. The office expects the results of that review around the time a new chief is hired or shortly thereafter.

Napier said he has had preliminary conversations with the outside evaluation agency and expects the final analysis to be “encyclopedic.”

The report will also make recommendations for changes to the department, but the department will not be bound by them.

The department has been without a permanent chief since Jim Wetzel was dismissed in May after a series of problems in the police department became public.

A survey released in early April by the local branch of the Fraternal Order of Police described a toxic environment in the department. Shortly thereafter, a majority of officers gave a vote of no confidence to Wetzel’s leadership.

He was dismissed from his at-will position in May. No cause for dismissal was given.

The new chief will be paid between $105,000 and $126,000 annually, according to the job posting. Wetzel was paid about $112,000 in 2016.

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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