The city of Bellmead has received a flood of candidates from 20 states for the position of police chief, and officials expect to pare the list to a few finalists this summer.

By Monday, 81 candidates have applied for the position, which opened when Chief Lydia Alvarado retired last month. Interim City Manager Yost Zakhary said that figure doesn’t include some additional resumes that might have been submitted over the weekend.

Zakhary said the interest echoes the 2011 hiring process, when Alvarado was selected.

“There were about 70 to 80 around that time,” Zakhary said. “The interest now comes from the fact that I think this is a thriving opportunity that is in a good location with a lot of exposure with (Interstate) 35 and there are some really good people who work here.

“It is real police work and any chief is going to get their hands involved in pretty serious cases and to get involved with the community.”

Alvarado retired last month eight years as the leader of the department and 32 years of law enforcement. Zakhary named retired Texas Department of Public Safety Maj. Danny Smith as Bellmead’s interim police chief, a role he is expected to fill until August.

“The council has been very, very supportive and encouraging with Danny and I’ve gotten some really good feedback from the community about Danny,” Zakhary said. “He has made some pretty dramatic moves already that has streamlined operations, but he has said that he is not looking to do this full-time.”

Last week, Smith promoted Sgt. Brenda Kinsey to administration lieutenant, while keeping her in her roles as department spokeswoman and community policing supervisor. Smith has also restructured the department and met with officers to address any concerns they may have moving forward, Zakhary said.

“The police chief will have to continue with community policing, being very involved in the community and recognize that the most important aspect is the employees,” Zakhary said.

Applicants include retired law enforcement officers and current police officers from a variety of states including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Within the next month, Zakhary said he will narrow the list down to about 10 to 15 applicants, who will then receive a questionnaire. The questionnaire will then be returned to the city before Zakhary will seek the help from local police chiefs to narrow the list down to about three to five finalists.

“From that three to five, we will start doing final interviews and present a final candidate to the council for approval most likely sometime in August,” Zakhary said. “It is a very strong applicant pool and we hope to pick someone who will stay in Bellmead and carry the department on to the next level.”

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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