The new Chaska police chief pool now sits at just three candidates, City Administrator Matt Podhradsky said.
They are Chris Fischer, Orono deputy chief of police; Richard Gabler, Brooklyn Center commander; and Ryan Seibert, Robbinsdale police captain.
Ben Anderson, current interim operations chief with the Chaska Police Department, did not apply for the city’s police chief position.
Twenty-six applicants applied and underwent phone interviews. Six applicants then had in-person interviews mid-February.
It was, and continues to be, a robust undertaking, Podhradsky said.
“I think the process we went through was great. It’s one that involved the entire police department in it, which made it really, I thought, sort of a fun process,” he said.
Candidates interviewed with three panels made of police department staff, department heads, and other city officials.
Plymouth Police Chief Mike Goldstein helped with the process, Podhradsky said.
Fischer, one of three final candidates, has been the deputy chief for eight years with the Orono Police Department.
He went to school at St. Cloud State before getting his Masters Degree at Metro State University. Since then, Fischer said he became a founding member of the drug task force, which he’s been on three times, and had numerous other police-related trainings.
He’s also been a patrol sergeant, administrative sergeant, and sergeant of general investigations.
Fischer said he applied to be the Chaska police chief for several reasons.
“I want to continue to grow myself as a leader in law enforcement,” he said.
But not just in any city.
“I’ve been very selective in finding communities. What I see out of Chaska is very exciting,” Fischer said.
He said he’s worked in small towns his entire life, calling himself a “small town person.”
“There’s a great police department already there. I just can’t believe the amount of services the city provides while keeping taxes low.”
Robbinsdale Police Captain Ryan Seibert is another finalist. The Chanhassen resident has worked his current role for about 13 years, overseeing investigations and handling support services.
As a local, he’d like to stay close to home.
“I think it’s just important for me, as a continuation of public service, I’d really like to do so in the same area that I live,” Seibert said.
He said when he saw the job opening for Chaska police chief, he recognized many of the desired attributes in himself.
“Dedicated individual, someone that has commitment to being an inclusive leader and potential to be a visionary,” Seibert said, recalling the list. “Take a look at current processes within and… also look toward the future.”
Richard Gabler, commander in Brooklyn Center, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Though Podhradsky said a finalist will likely get an offer mid-March. After that, it could take some time before the position is finalized.
Podhradsky called it a “rule of thumb” in such hiring decisions, considering the pending police chief needs to go through a background check, reference checks and a psychological evaluation.
After the anticipated mid-March offer, the new chief would likely need to give his previous employer a 30-day notice.
Podhradsky said that means the new Chaska police chief wouldn’t start until around mid-April.