Port Arthur starts search for new police chief

Published 12:23 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The city of Port Arthur is actively searching for a new police chief and is seeking applications from within and outside the police department.

Monique LeFlore, director of human resources, said an internal email was sent out May 24 announcing that applications would be taken for the chief of police position for one week, then opened to external applicants.

The job posting was made public on the city’s website later Tuesday afternoon. The current posting says the application period is through June 15 with a starting salary of $101,828 to $126,601, depending on experience and qualifications.

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Harvey Robinson, interim city manager, said there is no intent to hire a search firm at this point.

“If we can save the taxpayers a few dollars by attracting the right applicants then we will do that,” Robinson said.

Robinson said he did not have a set timeframe for hiring a new chief.

“It depends on the number of applicants we deem qualified to take a close look at and we hope to have completed this and bring a recommendation to City Council in 30 days,” he said.

Former Police Chief Patrick Melvin resigned his post May 19, just four days after Port Arthur Police Lt. John Owens was reinstated to his role as deputy chief/major.

When the news was made public, Melvin issued a statement saying he was pleased to have Owens back.

Owens, a veteran officer, was one of five PAPD officers named in an affidavit alleging wrongdoing within the department in February 2017, and was placed on administrative leave under Melvin’s tenure. Several of the officers named, including Owens, were later reinstated.

Strategic Government Resources, the same firm used by the city that recommended former city manager Brian McDougal, who resigned his post in November, chose Melvin from a pool of 46 applicants. This was whittled down to five candidates before one of those candidates withdrew his name.

The final four applicants went through a number of interviews including one with committee members as well as a meet-and-greet with the public before Melvin was hired in September 2016.