Barbara Lawlor, Nederland
On December 19, six Nederland Police Chief candidate semi-finalists ran the meet and greet gauntlet of questions before residents, Town of Nederland staff and members of the hiring committee. Since then, the committee has reviewed the comments of the semifinalists, public comment, and interviews with the NPD.
On Monday, December 23, the hiring committee announced that they recommend James Matheney, 49, of Warren, Michigan for the position. He was one of 40 applicants for the position.
Matheney has been in law enforcement for 26 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Madonna University and is completing his Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. He also attended the FBI National Academy. He will begin the appointment in March.
During the public interview, Matheney said that even though he has worked with a large budget, he has learned to be creative about resources, how to partner with other agencies, how to let the community know about limited resources and work with them and to get a synergistic effort from dissimilar interests.
Matheney said that if he were hired he wouldn’t change much, would make sure the department continued to be efficient. He said he planned to stay for a while; that he had at least 12 years to go before he retired and he figures this next step will be his last.
When asked what he would do if a prominent politician or businessman asked him to look the other way in a transgression, Matheney said that the whole question boils down to integrity “You either have it or you don’t. The same integrity applies to everyone.”
The hiring committee included Trustee Randy Lee; Town Administrator Alisha Reis; Nederland Fire Protection District Chief Rick Dirr; TEENS, Inc. Restorative Justice Coordinator Andrea Bianchi; human resources consultant Nancy Stubbs; and Assistant District Attorney Ryan Brackley.
The NPD employs four police officers and a police clerk in addition to the chief’s position. The 2014 budget contains funds for an additional police officer’s position.
The recommendation to hire Matheney will go before the Board of Trustees on January 7.