The city of Chandler, Ariz., announced last week it has whittled its search for a police chief down to six finalists. And Davis Police Chief Landy Black is one of them.
Black said Friday his reasons for applying for the job are twofold: to be closer to his aging parents, who live in nearby Mesa, Ariz., and to experience leading a larger police force in a bigger city.
A suburb of Phoenix, Chandler has a population of slightly more than 245,000 people, with a police department of 320 sworn officers and about 150 civilian employees spread among three police stations.
“I like challenges, and I like to give myself the opportunity to learn and do new things,” said Black, 56. Chandler, he added, “is a leader in the region of progressive policing practices.”
Black acknowledged that leaving Davis would be bittersweet.
“I really like the community,” said Black, who is credited with repairing the police department’s fractured relationship with some segments of the community after arriving here more than six years ago. “They’ve given me the most support a police chief could expect.”
Other finalists for the top cop’s job in Chandler include two Scottsdale assistant chiefs, John Cocca and Sean Duggan; Surprise, Ariz., assistant police chief/executive officer Don Schneidmiller; Riverside, Calif., assistant police chief Christopher Vicino; and Missouri City, Texas, Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.
Black said he will undergo a series of panel interviews during the first week of November, with the new chief expected to take the helm at the beginning of 2014.
“But if I don’t prevail, I get to stay here, and I’ve got a really great thing,” Black said. “The systems that we have set up and the people we have doing things are top-notch.”
This isn’t the first time Black has been a finalist for another chief’s job since coming to Davis in April 2007. He was among the top three candidates for the job of Fairfield police chief back in 2010, and he made the same cut in the Southern California city of Corona about a year and a half ago.
In addition to the professional challenge Chandler offers, Black said a move there would put him within a 15-minute drive from his parents, who settled in Mesa in the 1980s and have no other close relatives nearby. Black’s three siblings live in the Ohio area.
Both reasons are understandable, said Davis police Sgt. Michael Munoz, who serves as president of the Davis Police Officers Association. He noted that Black always has been supportive of officers seeking to advance their careers at other agencies.
“We’d miss him — he’s well liked, and he’s done a good job,” Munoz said. “The police department is running as smoothly as it ever has.”
More recently, Black has taken on the additional role of overseeing the city’s fire department, while Davis city leaders explore the potential for shared management with the UC Davis Fire Department, a plan that progressed last week with the City Council’s vote to have UCD Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht lead both agencies for at least the next year.
Chandler’s previous police chief retired in June after nine years in the position.
— Reach Lauren Keene at email@example.com or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene