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Syracuse police chief search down to 3 candidates

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
First Deputy Chief of Police Joe Cecile is one of the candidates.

The search for the next chief of police in Syracuse has been narrowed down to three candidates. One has extensive experience in the Syracuse Police Department and the other two come from outside New York State.

Syracuse Common Councilor-at-Large Steven Thompson, who was also a former police chief, was a member of the search committee that asked the candidates questions as to how they would decrease the shootings and violence occurring in the city, as well as how they would structure the police department and interact with other agencies.

"Personally, I was looking for somebody who had a record of accomplishments, a record of leadership, in the area where they are working now and if they worked somewhere else before, there," Thompson said. "I was looking at their educational background. How they interacted with the other command staff within their agencies." 

Thompson said one of the primary things a chief of police has to have is a relationship with his boss, the mayor of Syracuse, Ben Walsh.

“I have said to the mayor before that it’s extremely important that he has a good working relationship with the individual who he chooses to be chief of police," Thompson said. "He has to be confident in him. He has to be sure that the person is going to make the right decisions for the city of Syracuse because it is a very high profile position.”

First Deputy Chief Joe Cecile is among the contenders and has been with the Syracuse Police Department for more than 33 years. He manages all the administrative functions and oversees community services. Retiring Police Chief Frank Fowler said he supports Cecile taking over his job. The other two candidates are Chief Kamran Afzal of Durango, Colorado and Chief Kenton Buckner of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Mayor Walsh and a group of stakeholders will meet with the candidates and Walsh will make a decision next month.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.