O'Konek among 8 police chief contenders

Video interviews set for Thursday

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Capt. Steve O’Konek and seven candidates from outside Iowa will be interviewed Thursday for the post of Cedar Rapids police chief.

The other contenders to be interviewed via videoconferencing, out of an original pool of 38 applicants, are:

  • Thomas Bergamine, chief, Fayetteville Police Department, Fayetteville, N.C.

  • Dan Hughes, former chief, Surprise Police Department, Surprise, Ariz.

  • Wayne Jerman, assistant chief, Montgomery County Police Department, Rockville, Md.

  • Robert Johnson, executive officer, Chicago Police Department, Chicago.

  • Brad Nelson, patrol commander, Columbia Police Department, Columbia, Mo.

  • Zim Schwartze, former director, Columbia/Boone County Office of Emergency Management, Columbia, Mo.

  • Michael Smathers, captain, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte, N.C.

After the interviews, commission members will rank the candidates and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz will select finalists for in-person interviews and visits with the public here. Pomeranz makes the final hiring choice with the advice and consent of the City Council.

O’Konek is one of three Cedar Rapids police captains who are taking two-month turns as acting police chief during the search for a replacement for Greg Graham, who left in January.

O’Konek’s last day in that role was Tuesday; he reverts to captain Wednesday.

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