Nearly 4 dozen applicants vying for Columbia police chief - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Nearly 4 dozen applicants vying for Columbia police chief

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Applications for Columbia's next police chief were due at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The city manager received 46 applications for the job, including 3 internal applicants and 13 from South Carolina. Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago is one of those candidates.

Tuesday, we told you the mayor suggested another option for finding the right person for the job.

The Navigating from Good to Great Foundation was formed six years ago to identify important issues that can help improve Columbia.

The foundation's board chairman, Mike Crapps, said the group offered to help out with the search for the next police chief because it's vital for the city.

"Without a real strong public safety system in place, we can't really expect our community to move from good to great," Crapps said. "Our interest is because it's important to our neighbors, our neighborhoods, important to the people that live here, the people that work here, our businesses. It's important to those that are thinking about locating here."

City Manager Teresa Wilson has already formed a search committee that's doing a nationwide search.

Crapps said the search shouldn't just be focused on who applies, but instead, who will be the best leader. He suggests talking with people who might not even be looking for a new job.

"We think the idea would be to reach out and talk with those folks, let them know the great story we've got, the opportunity we've got, and work hard to attract the best talent here," said Crapps.

Tuesday, Mayor Steve Benjamin mentioned the foundation's offer to fund another search committee. Benjamin is on the group's board, but Crapps says he had nothing to do with the original offer to help.

"The mayor wasn't even in the room," Crapps said. "He was not at that board meeting."

Some city council members expressed concern over the timing of the offer, just one day before applications were due.

Crapps said the Navigating from Good to Great Foundation approached the city manager back in October about helping with the search.

"We approached the city, offered our expression of interest, offered our assistance, again in whatever form that might take," Crapps said. "The search committee was formed after that. We applaud that."

City Manager Teresa Wilson said she was never formally approached with an offer to help in October.

She said things will continue to go forward as planned.

Wilson said she is confident in the search process and looking forward to reviewing the applications.

The committee will meet Monday to start going over the applications.

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