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Search for City’s New Chief of Police is Underway, Mayor Seeks the Community’s Input

Staff report

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Mayor Malik D. Evans is on a nationwide search to fill the position of the Rochester Police Department (RPD) Chief, currently being held by interim Chief David Smith. Mayor Evans wants to hear from the community.

Over the next 2 weeks, the city wants to invite residents to participate in community focus groups, to share their thoughts about the qualities and characteristics that residents would value most in Rochester’s next Chief of Police.

The City will conduct 4 virtual community input sessions and each session will be dedicated to topics of concern in each city quadrant.

The virtual community input sessions and their corresponding neighborhood quadrant focus will take place on the following dates at 6 p.m.:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 2 (Southeast)
  • Friday, Feb. 4 (Northwest)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 8 (Southwest)
  • Thursday, Feb. 10 (Northeast) 

No registration is required and residents are welcome to participate in any session if unable to attend the session for the particular quadrant in which they live. To participate, residents can use the Zoom link at:

The search will be conducted by the national search firm, Public Sector Search & Consulting (PSS&C) whose focus is solely on the recruitment of senior police executives.  The firm is led by Chief Executive Officer Gary Peterson, a former chief of police in Martinez, California.

“We are seeking the best leader for our police force, so have partnered with a proven and experienced national firm to help us find our new chief,” Evans said. “I am impressed by Mr. Peterson’s expertise, successful track record, and commitment to a process that includes input from all interested parties.”

Peterson will lead the comprehensive search process in the coming months and it will include individual and group information gathering, extensive community input, outreach to qualified prospects and screening and presentation of candidates.

The city reports that interviews with key city personnel have already begun, including with the mayor and other city officials. The meetings are designed to give the search firm an understanding of the [Police] Department’s organizational needs, structure, culture and priorities. 

Rochester residents and other interested stakeholders can also provide their input and perspectives by completing an online survey at The deadline to complete the online survey is Feb. 4.

Residents participating in community focus groups will have the opportunity to engage directly with PSS&C to share their thoughts about attributes they are seeking in a police chief who will serve all Rochesterians.

“We believe that open and transparent searches set the stage for building community trust with new appointees,” Peterson said.

“It is crucial to take the entire city through the process so the new Chief is received as a strong and legitimate partner by the community.”

After the input process, the firm will develop recruitment materials, begin its outreach to qualified candidates, conduct comprehensive screenings, present finalists for consideration and lead multiple rounds of interviews.

PSS&C has managed many successful searches for police chiefs in various cities, including in Dallas, Texas; Boulder, Colorado; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee, according to information provided by the city.

The entire process is expected to take up to 120 days to complete, the City expects to complete the search by the end of April. 

For any additional information, contact Dr. Rose Nichols, the City’s Director of Human Resource Management at (585) 428-7115 or Rose.Nichols@CityofRochester.Gov.