Friday, December 01, 2000

Search for top cop down to 5

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        INDEPENDENCE — The 16-candidate search for a Kenton County police chief has been narrowed to five candidates with extensive law-enforcement experience in the Tristate.

        The county's four-member police merit board forwarded the finalists' names to Kenton County Judge-executive Dick Murgatroyd earlier this week. He is expected to make a final recommendation to fiscal court by the end of the year, and the new chief could be on the job by January.

        The five men have held ranks on the Kenton or other area police forces ranging from lieutenant to captain to chief.

        Bob Dickman, chairman of the merit board, couldn't be reached on Thursday for comment.

        The finalists are: Covington police Lt. Col. Bill Dorsey, Kenton police Capt. Ed Butler, Crescent Springs police Chief Mike Ward, former Independence police chief Ed Porter, and Florence police Lt. Tom Dusing.

        The chief's job pays $53,248 to $62,400 per year, with the exact figure to be based, in part, on the candidate's experience.

        The department has an annual budget of $3.2 million. Its 35 sworn officers are responsible for law enforcement in all non-incorporated parts of the county. Its four-member detective squad often assists smaller depart ments and recently led an Edgewood homicide investigation that resulted in three murder indictments.

        The new chief will replace Mike Browning, who retired Sept. 1 to take a job at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. The department is now being run by Ed Burk, who agreed to head the force on a temporary basis just a month after his retirement as assistant chief.

        Mr. Porter, 55, Fort Mitchell, hopes that his lawsuit against the city of Independence and its mayor doesn't hurt his chances of getting the job. He was fired as chief of Independence police, he alleges, for “blowing the whistle” on the mayor, who he says was trying to sway a criminal investigation.

        “During a job interview, it is often a struggle to get beyond the statement of "I was terminated from my last job and there is pending litigation,'” he said Thursday, adding that the merit board must have liked his credentials because he is a finalist.

        Mr. Porter has been in law enforcement for almost 30 years. He retired from the Cincinnati police in 1995 and was with Independence police from November 1995 until May of this year. He is retired from the Army, where he had 28 years of combined active and reserve duty.

        He said his parallel careers provide him with the leadership skills needed to be the Kenton police chief. Mr. Porter said he would focus on professional development and building community trust.

        Capt. Butler, 30, of Erlanger is the only internal candidate. He has worked for the agency nine years: an officer for four years before being promoted to sergeant in 1995. He has been a captain for 3 1/2 years and is in charge of administration. Capt. Butler's father, Jeff Butler, was chief of Kenton police from 1991-96, when he retired.

        Lt. Col. Dorsey, 51, of Covington has been with Covington police for 29 years and teaches at Northern Kentucky University and the Union Institute in Avondale. He has a master's in public administration and graduated from the FBI academy.

        Lt. Col. Dorsey and Capt. Butler both declined to speak further about why they believe they should get the job or what changes they might make to the department.

        Kenton County Human Resources Director Joe Shriver didn't release biographical information on the five finalists and Chief Ward and Lt. Dusing couldn't be reached for comment.


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