Nome without a chief of police for the first time in 3 years

Backend of Nome police car.

The City of Nome is accepting applications for a new chief of police after former Chief Michael Heintzelman retired from the Nome Police Department (NPD) late last month (Oct. 28). Nome doesn’t have a chief of police for the first time in over three years.

City Manager Glenn Steckman said the first phase of interviews is being conducted between himself and the public safety commission. He said the City Council will be invited to observe the finalists interviews. 

“We received over 30 applications, it is being reduced to six,” he said. “Two to four will be advanced to the finals.”

The public safety commission began with nine seats in 2019, but Steckman said two seats were eliminated because the commission often struggled to meet quorum for meetings. He said the public safety commission is required by ordinance to have certain representatives.

“It’s not like any other commission that we have, where it has defined skill sets or backgrounds for someone to sit on a commission.” 

To serve on the commission, you must pass a background check, not be currently employed by NPD, or have been employed by NPD within two years. Steckman said it isn’t advisable for a NPD member to be on the board because they provide oversight to the chief of police and City Manager. 

The City Manager is ultimately responsible for the hiring of a new chief and making a recommendation to the City Council. Steckman said he has over 30 years of experience in the hiring of police chiefs and that hiring one in Nome is “no different” than his previous experiences.

“We’re looking for someone who has good communication skills, who will help mentor,” he said. “Obviously, I want to see the completion of the accreditation process. We want someone to be able to work well and to recognize some of the challenges of working in Nome.”

Steckman said there was nationwide interest in the position. He says finalists may be interviewed as early as December or after the first of the year.

Photo at top: Nome Police car parked outside of the station. Photo by Brisa Alarcon, KNOM.