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Prescott down to a sole finalist for police chief

Prescott Police Department is currently in the midst of its second search for a new chief. File photo

Prescott is down to a single finalist for its police chief position after interviewing six initially in December.

The finalist is set to undergo psychological testing later this week, and depending on the results of the test, the city will offer a final contract to the person, said City Administrator Jayne Brand in an email. Current interim Office Chief Doug Ducklow's contract expires in January 2019, giving the new chief a transition period with Ducklow still at the department.

The city initially reviewed about 40 applicants in its search for a new police chief and invited seven to interview, but one declined. The search has been ongoing since former police chief Gary Krutke died in 2017 and has spanned two interim chiefs and one unsuccessful hiring push that ended in April.

A Herald public records requests to receive the names of all the finalists had not yet been fulfilled by the paper's printing deadline; in a prior phone call Brand declined to give out the names. The city does not want to potentially harm the finalists' standings in their current positions, Brand said, explaining why the city has not made their names public.

While the police chief hiring process is almost exclusively done in private, non-public sessions, Brand was able to give some details on the process.

Only two of the initial applicants were from Wisconsin, while the rest were from outside of the state, and one interviewed finalist was from the department, she said. It's unclear if the remaining finalist is the in-house finalist.

Prescott's search has been stretched across two different hiring pushes, with the first failing to bring in a desirable candidate out of a small pool of interested candidates.

Police commission chair Bill Pryor previously told the Herald that the city upped the pay in efforts to increase the range of interested applicants. It appeared to work; in early October, Brand said that they had around 40 candidates, up from 12 in the previous search.

Former police Sgt. Rob Funk was one of the finalists but was not selected. He headed the department as interim chief from Aug. 8, 2017, to June 25, 2018, but was replaced by Ducklow — a Pierce County Sheriff's Office investigator — in August.

Funk announced his retirement in late November after 15 years in the department.