Myers to provide 'stability' as interim chief in Manitou

January 16, 2012
photo - Richard W. Myers Photo by The Gazette file
Richard W. Myers Photo by The Gazette file 

Former Colorado Springs police chief Richard Myers has no plans to become a full-time chief anytime soon.

That doesn’t mean he’ll stop wearing a badge.

Manitou Springs officials pegged Myers this month as interim chief of the Manitou Springs Police Department while the city searches for a replacement to former Chief Mary Jo Smith, who retired in December.

Myers, who has been a police chief in five communities, approached Manitou Springs officials about taking the interim post.

“I didn’t step in here to make major change or significantly start reforming anything,” Myers said. “I’m just here to provide a little bit of stability.”

In November, Myers left the Colorado Springs Police Department after nearly five years when Mayor Steve Bach said he wanted a “change in direction” by bringing in a new chief.

He left after a string of public embarrassments for the department, including the arrests of two veteran officers in 2011 and a botched liquor code investigation of the Hooters at The Citadel mall. Bach gave Myers a $114,000 payout when he left, including $74,344 for six months of salary.

At the time, Myers oversaw a department of about 925 employees — nearly 550 of them sworn officers. His violent crimes unit numbered more than 30 people.

For the next two-and-a-half months, Myers will command about 25 people, sworn and civilian combined.

Jack Benson, Manitou Springs city administrator, said he looked at Myers’ entire career — not just 2011. He’ll earn $5,000 a month until his contract ends on March 31.

“Chief’s got a good record and we’re more than pleased to have him,” Benson said.

The city hired KRW Associates LLC — a headhunting firm — for $7,500 to search throughout Colorado and the surrounding states for a permanent chief. Finalists are expected to be interviewed by city council and a citizens advisory committee.

Myers said he isn’t looking for a permanent job as police chief in Manitou Springs or elsewhere.

Instead, he’s focusing on consultant work. He recently traveled to Tanzania on a U.S. State Department-sponsored trip to train police forces. He plans to continue consultant work while serving as interim chief, including conducting a “high-level assessment” of Manitou Springs’ force.

“I signed on for the interim,” Myers said. “If I was going to compete for the position, I shouldn’t have put in for the interim.”

Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654
Twitter: @jakobrodgers
Facebook: Jakob Rodgers

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