City will continue search with four remaining applicants
Sam Lathrop, one of the five candidates in the hotly debated search for Columbus’s next police chief, has withdrawn from the hunt.
In a letter sent to Human Resource Director Pat Mitchell, Lathrop stated, “I suspect Columbus is not the place for me.”
Lathrop’s letter came on the heels of some very public scrutiny from Councilmen Charlie Box and Bill Gavin.
In a special City Council meeting held last Tuesday afternoon, Ward 3 Councilman Box said he was “not happy” with the five applicants as a whole. He further added, referring to Lathrop, “A man is accused of having an affair with a subordinate. Would you call that qualified?”
Box went on to add some of the applicants were “losers” that “we won’t consider.”
Lathrop’s letter also states, “Councilman Box and Councilman Gavin have already made up their minds. I fear that under this cloud, I am no longer in an arena where I will receive fair consideration.”
Lathrop wrote notifying the city of his withdrawal last Thursday, and the subcommittee met on Monday afternoon. As of Monday evening the city had not released the name of the alternate to the public. However, WCBI reported on their Monday night broadcast that Don Daniel of Casa Grande, Arizona was slated to take the fifth spot.
With Lathrop withdrawing from the process, ideally an alternate candidate would move up into the top five position. However, once approached, the alternate candidate withdrew his application as well. City officials have confirmed that Daniel was the alternate choice.
At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, council members were informed during executive session about Lathrop and Daniel’s decision. The council then decided to continue to search for a new chief with the four remaining applicants.
Then on Wednesday morning, Melissa Cook, Vice President of the Columbus LINK and member of the five-member subcommittee, resigned from the committee. There is no word from the city if they will replace Cook.
The four remaining members of the subcommittee are Birney Imes, Publisher of the Commercial Dispatch; Steve Rogers, Assignment Editor at WCBI-TV; Rep. Esther Harrison; and local businessman Bobby Jordan. Imes was selected by Mayor Smith to chair the subcommittee and Imes in turn handpicked Rogers, Cook, Harrison and Jordan. All were original members of the 21-person committee that originally narrowed down 25 applicants to five.
The four remaining finalists are Curtis Brame, of North Chicago, Ill.; Nathaniel Clark, of Albany, Ga.; Selvain McQueen, of Columbus; and Robert Spinks, of Sequim, Wash.