Waunakee’s Police Commission will soon begin to recruit for a right candidate to replace Chief Kevin Plendl, who has served the department for 33 years, and nearly 20 as chief. Plendl has indicated he intends to retire in May of 2020 after 20 years at the department’s helm.

At their meeting Nov. 5, the police commission agreed to the details of the hiring process.

According to Village Clerk and Human Resources Director Caitlin Stene, the job will be posted Dec. 2.

An outside recruitment firm that has worked on recruiting police chiefs nationwide, particularly in Dane County, will be brought in to help with the effort.

Candidates will undergo two rounds of interviews, one by an internal team comprising Plendl, the village administrator, Stene and the Police Commission president, along with the retired Middleton Police Chief. A second interview will be conducted by a panel of local police chiefs.

“It’s pretty common in police chief recruitment to have a peer panel interview,” Stene said.

After gathering all feedback, the internal team will make their recommendations to the police commission. Background checks of the finalists will be done before the commission makes the selection. The finalists’ names will be open to the public, Stene said.

The police commission is comprised of citizen representatives, Stene noted; no village board members serve on it.

But the village board will negotiate the new police chief’s terms of employment.

The hope is to offer the job by the beginning of or mid April.

Stene said planning for the recruitment has been “bittersweet.”

“I think of [Plendl] very highly as a chief,” she said, adding the community has been lucky to have him.

“Filling his shoes will be a big task for someone,” Stene added.

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