GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Green Bay Police and Fire Commission prepares for possible nationwide search to replace Chief Andrew Smith

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith has announced he is soon retiring, meaning a search will have to be conducted to find his replacement. So how will that be done and what is the process? Kris Schuller spoke to those responsible for hiring the city’s next top cop.

Five years ago, Andrew Smith became Green Bay’s chief of police. And come this May he’ll step down to begin a new chapter in his life.

“It’s been a long time coming, after 33 years in law enforcement and five full years here in Green Bay. I always thought that right around five years was the right time to leave,” said Smith.

“I think he raised the bar quite a bit for the police department and our community and their expectations,” said former officer, Alderman Bill Galvin.

Galvin says Smith brought transparency and accountability to the department, citing an internal investigation four years ago into gender-based and racial harassment, that led to three officers resigning and others disciplined.

“If someone did something wrong, he didn’t hide it,” Galvin said.

While Green Bay’s mayor points to Smith’s strong connection with the city’s different cultural groups during the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I think it was incredibly essential as we moved through some of that unrest this summer. It’s our job to serve the community and I think Chief Smith absolutely exemplified that,” said Mayor Eric Genrich.

And now the search starts for a new chief to lead the department, a process controlled by the Green Bay Police and Fire Commission.

“My assumption is we’ll do a national search again, cast a wide net,” said commission chair Rod Goldhahn.

Goldhahn chairs the independent five-member commission in charge of the hiring process. He says soon the commission will meet, determine job requirements and start to advertise.

“I would hope to have that ready to go within a couple of weeks if even that long,” said Goldhahn.

“Hopefully we’ll have somebody in place in time for the new year. I would imagine by the end of the year, we’d ideally have someone in place permanently,” Genrich said.

Someone who too believes in an open-door policy and a straight answer.

“I’m almost 60, I’ll be 59 this summer. I think it’s about time to think about doing something besides law enforcement,” said Smith.

Goldhahn says if they go with a national search, it will not preclude local candidates from applying for the position.

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