With a new manager firmly in place, New Garden Township is ready to step up its search for a new police chief.
After an update on the search was tabled at two public meetings last week, board of supervisors chairman Bob Norris said that much of the delay has been due to the township's search for a new manager.
"The township manager plays a lead role in dealing with the police chief," Norris said. "The chief essentially reports to the township manager."
Now that new manager Dan Fox is in place, Norris said, the township can begin the process of moving forward with finding current chief Larry Dampman's replacement.
Norris said that Dampman, who has been on the slow road to retirement ever since taking over for Gerry Davis almost six years ago, has been extremely flexible in holding off his plans for the township.
"Through his grace and generosity, he's stayed on so our number one priority is finding his replacement," Norris said.
He added that although there is no timeline in place, he estimates that the process would take between three to six months.
"As soon as reasonably possible," Norris said.
Norris said that both Fox and the board members are working with the Police Chiefs Association of Pennsylvania to help find a suitable candidate.
Both Norris and Fox estimated that the township has received around 30 or so applications since the winter.
Fox added that a few of those applicants have since withdrawn their requests but that the township has vetted many of the other applicants.
"A number of those applications are still valid," he said.
"Our goal is to have it done in the fall," Fox said. "It's going to take a few months for that to happen."
For his part, Fox said he's glad to be part of the process because of the nature of the relationship between manager and police chief.
"Obviously I'm not in charge of the police department, but I am in charge of their budget. So you need to have a good relationship between the two of them, because we all work for the same people so we should be on the same page," he said.
He added that he would personally seek a candidate with "open lines of communication" to avoid any unnecessary backlash.
"But we are moving it forward," he said.
Norris added that Dampman's contribution has been invaluable and that the township is indebted to him for his leadership.
"He's done a great job of building and professionalizing our police force, and they have become a respected and valuable part of our township and we thank him for that."