Candidates to face three panels during interview processSEASIDE - Eighteen candidates have applied to be the chief of police in Seaside, including Sgt. Jason Schermerhorn, who works in the Seaside department.

Trish Downey, assistant to the city manager, is looking through the applications with the help of police chiefs from around the state. She hopes to schedule interviews for the week of May 23 and have a new police chief by July 1.

Downey said the key qualities include leadership and management skills, the ability to maintain relations with the community and news media, the ability to recognize community needs and, especially, experience. She said the public wants to feel well protected, but also that the police chief is listening to their needs.

Lt. Dave Ham has been the interim police chief since Jan. 5. Former chief Kenneth Almberg was placed on administrative leave at that point and allowed to retire after City Manager Mark Winstanley decided he was unable to effectively lead the department.

During the interview, candidates will face three panels: a professional law enforcement team; a group of city councilors and businesspeople; and a combination of city department heads and police staff. Representatives from the county and state police, District Attorney's office and the Seaside Police Department will be asked to participate, she said. Winstanley will make the final decision.

Downey said community members are welcome to call City Hall at (503) 738-5511 to provide input on what they would like to see in a police chief.

"The city manager is always open to hear what the public or anybody has to say," she said.