June 22, 2018

The Carroll Police Department is reinstating a captain position after a sergeant whose planned promotion to the position was reneged has left the department.

The department hopes to fill the position internally, Carroll Police Chief Brad Burke said.

After longtime Capt. Mark Heino retired at the end of 2016, the department planned to replace him with Sgt. Jeremiah Hoyt, who was included on a civil service commission list of approved applicants for the position.

However, Burke instead decided to keep Hoyt in the sergeant position, also promoting patrol officer Gary Bellinghausen to a sergeant role around the same time. The department’s third sergeant is J.J. Schreck. The three shared some supervisory roles that the captain normally would do, but most of those duties fell on Burke after Heino retired.

Iowa code outlines the process of creating a civil service commission of three city residents that creates a list of approved candidates for promotion or hiring in a police department. The list compiled in 2016 of potential captain candidates included Hoyt.

“We didn’t feel we had the perfect fit,” Burke said recently. “We didn’t have the right candidate at that point.”

The department isn’t able to fill the position with anyone not on the civil service commission’s list until the two-year list expires or everyone on it is no longer eligible for the position. The list created of potential candidates to replace Heino expired in January of this year, Burke said.

Hoyt left the department last month to work as a police chief in Anamosa. The department also will promote or hire someone to fill Hoyt’s sergeant role after a captain is promoted or hired.

“We have good officers,” Burke said. “We have a few good candidates in our department (for the captain position).”

Sergeants are responsible for patrol officers on duty and complete some administrative duties, particularly when there isn’t a captain.

A captain is essentially an assistant chief and runs the department in the chief’s absence, Burke said. The person helps with coordinating and directing within the department and oversees all employees. Sergeants report directly to the captain.

“Right now, not having a captain, I’m kind of acting as both the captain and the chief,” Burke said. “We’re a little short on patrol officers and when we go through the hiring process, I usually do everything. I need someone to assist me.”

The Carroll City Council recently approved changes to the captain job description that more clearly describes the experience the candidates need.

The description previously stated that a candidate for captain needed to have worked as a sergeant on the Carroll Police Department for at least two years or have “any equivalent combination of education and experience.”

The new requirements outline more experience possibilities. Candidates can have worked for two years in Carroll as a sergeant or six as an officer here. Those with a degree in criminal justice or a similar field also are eligible even if they’ve worked with the department for a shorter amount of time — five years for someone with an associate degree and four years for someone with a bachelor’s degree. Candidates from a different police department must have worked there as a sergeant or in a higher position for at least two years, and in Iowa law enforcement for at least five years.

Councilman LaVern Dirkx said during the June 11 council meeting that he was concerned about the requirement that non-Carroll applicants have worked in Iowa law enforcement for five years — making it impossible for an otherwise qualified out-of-state candidate to apply unless that person moved to Iowa to work in a lower law-enforcement position for five years first.

“That limits candidates to Iowa, basically,” he said. “I feel like you’d never get anyone from out of state. You’re limiting your candidates to the state of Iowa and that’s it. That doesn’t seem fair for someone to try to come into Iowa and get a job if they have 20 years of law enforcement in another state.”

Burke said that requirement helps with the need for a captain to be very familiar with Iowa laws specifically but added that the council could vote to change that requirement within Carroll’s laws.

“I think for someone in a supervisory role, having experience is critical,” Councilman Mike Kots said.

Burke said he encouraged his officers who meet the requirements to apply for the position.

“Hopefully we’ll have candidates from within who will apply that will be good candidates and we won’t have to worry about external candidates,” he said.

City Manager Mike Pogge-Weaver noted that Iowa code requires internal candidates to be eliminated before a department considers external candidates.

Burke said that both of the department’s remaining sergeants, Bellinghausen and Schreck, are eligible for the position, as well as some of the department’s patrol officers.

He hopes to fill the captain position before the end of July. The captain will assist with hiring or promoting a new sergeant as well as filling vacant patrol officer positions.