CLEARWATER — The last time Clearwater looked for a new police chief, it had to replace Sid Klein, a legendary figure who retired after nearly three decades as chief. So the city launched a national search and chose Tony Holloway from 100 candidates.
Now, four years later, Holloway is the one who's leaving. This time, the city manager is looking to fill the job from within the Clearwater Police Department.
"My first step is to look internally," said City Manager Bill Horne. "My intent is to do this quickly. I do not expect this to be a long, drawn-out process."
Horne wouldn't name anyone specifically, but three high-ranking Clearwater police officials jump out as obvious candidates: Deputy Chief Sandra Wilson and majors Donald Hall and Daniel Slaughter.
Under the terms of Clearwater's city charter, picking a new police chief is solely Horne's choice to make. However, he'll be looking for a candidate who can win the support of the five elected City Council members that the city manager answers to.
"We have some good people in our police department, and if he decides to go down that road, I am confident that it will be a good decision," said Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos. "We've had a lot of stability in our department. I don't know that we have the same problems that I believe St. Petersburg was looking at and why they decided to go outside their department."
Here are three possibilities to be Clearwater's next police chief:
• Wilson, 52, was hired as the department's No. 2 by Holloway in 2010. She spent 23 years with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where was a regional homeland security coordinator. She worked in violent crimes, economic crimes, narcotics, crimes against children and internal affairs.
• Hall, 53, has been with the department since 1984. He oversees the investigations division. He's been a patrol officer, a detective, and a supervisor in various roles.
• Slaughter, 44, has been with the department since 1992. As head of the patrol division, he oversees 165 officers and about 30 civilians. He also has worked in special operations, internal affairs, homicide, and as a field training officer.
Contact Mike Brassfield at email@example.com or (727) 445-4151. Follow @MikeBrassfield.