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October 10, 2018

Warrenton police chief hiring process stalled

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Former Warrenton Police Chief Louis Battle, who retired in May, with Lt. Tim Carter, who will take over this week as interim chief, at the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce’s Valor Awards banquet in April.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
After five months, the Town of Warrenton remains without a police chief and apparently won’t fill the position anytime soon.

Town Manager Brannon Godfrey launched a “nationwide search” soon after Chief Louis Battle’s abrupt, unexpected retirement announcement May 1.

A month later, Mr. Godfrey appointed Don Boring of Tucson, Ariz., as the acting chief of the 27-officer department. The manager and Mr. Boring previously worked together in Culpeper.

The Warrenton police chief position — advertised with a salary of up to $148,490 — drew 47 applicants.

On Monday, Aug. 6, the six finalists interviewed with three panels that Mr. Godfrey appointed — one of town citizens and one each composed of police chiefs and of city/town managers from around Virginia.

The panels reached “a consensus” on the top candidate, according to Mr. Godfrey, who then contracted with a Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police member to conduct a background investigation of the selection. The investigator completed his work, the town manager said Tuesday night.

The top choice also apparently had worked in Culpeper, according to a letter Commonwealth’s Attorney James P. Fisher sent to Mayor Carter Nevill and the seven-member town council.

In that Sept. 25 letter, Mr. Fisher questioned the selection process and raised concerns about what he learned as the special prosecutor in a police shooting case in Culpeper.

That apparently stopped the hiring process.

> Letter at bottom of story

Mr. Boring, who has earned $10,000 a month in the position, will complete his tenure as interim chief Friday. He and his wife will leave on a long-planned trip to Italy before returning to Arizona, Mr. Boring said Tuesday night.

Lt. Tim Carter, a 25-year veteran of the town police force, will assume the interim chief’s position. Lt. Carter will earn $86,728 in the new position — a 5-percent salary increase.

“That’s yet to be determined,” Mr. Godfrey said Tuesday night in response to a question about when he would hire a permanent police chief. The town charter gives the manager complete hiring/firing authority for that position.

He had planned to offer the position to a candidate by Oct. 1, according to a document Mr. Godfrey prepared this summer.

> Document at bottom of story

The town council spent almost 90 minutes late Tuesday night in a closed session to discuss “the performance and appointment of personnel to the police department.”

Council members made no comment after the closed session. Town officials remain tight-lipped about the chief’s position and the process to fill it.

The council Tuesday also convened another closed session — running from 10:27 p.m. to midnight — to discuss “the performance of the town manager.”

Staff Writer Cassandra Brown contributed to this report.

Contact Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-1845.

Fisher Letter on Warrenton ... by on Scribd

Warrenton police chief sele... by on Scribd

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