LITH to interview internal chief candidates next week

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Interviews are scheduled to take place next week for the village's next police department head, the village president said.

With Director of Police and Public Safety James Wales planning to retire at the end of April, the village posted a chief of police position internally, said Village President Paul Mulcahy.

Mulcahy said he plans to conduct interviews next week with internal candidates, but he would not say with whom or how many people have applied.

Mulcahy said he prefers the person running the police department be a sworn officer.

In 2004 Wales retired as police chief, but stayed with the department as a civilian director of police and public safety.

"I have nothing against director Wales," Mulcahy said. "I've never had any problem with what happened there, but I would prefer someone be a sworn officer."

Mulcahy said positions within the department wouldn't change, just titles.

He said the next chief should have professionalism, intelligence, the ability to deal with the public and the press, and leadership.

Mulcahy said he hopes to have someone selected before Wales leaves the department to help with the transition.

Wales, 59, of Prairie Grove said he looks forward to his retirement.

He plans to travel a bit more with his wife, Colleen, and be more involved with the Rotary Club. He also has his real estate broker's license.

Wales has been with the village for 35 years.

"I think I have over the course of my career, the police department has evolved through a coalition of a bunch of really dedicated professional people that I've been blessed to work with over the course of time," Wales said.

Wales said during his time with the department he has had personnel go through lots of training to help them grow as employees.

"There's a time to start a career, there's a time to end it. This is time to end it. It's time for the next generation to come up and take the department to the next level," Wales said. "We got a cadre of people who are qualified to take whatever positions come up."

He said with him leaving on April 30, it would give time for him to work with whoever is named police chief.

"My goal is to see a seamless transition and so what I envision, this would give the president and the board enough time to identify a successor," Wales said.

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