COLUMBUS — Mayor Jim Bulkley’s choice for police chief won’t have much of a transition.
He’ll just have to switch offices.
Bulkley selected longtime Columbus Police Capt. Chuck Sherer to replace former Police Chief William Gumm, who retired in June after 23 years in the position.
“I felt Capt. Sherer could roll into this position with the least amount of friction, his advancement would open up internal movement potential within the force, and he has some visions for change that I believe the rank and file will welcome,” Bulkley wrote in an email to city council members announcing his selection.
Sherer started his law enforcement career as an officer with Schuyler Police Department in 1979 and was promoted to chief in September 1980 at age 20, making him the youngest police chief in the state at that time, according to his application.
He left the Schuyler department in 1997 for a police captain job in Columbus and has led the patrol division since September 2009.
Sherer was director of the SNARE Drug Task Force for four years and received the Ak-Sar-Ben Law Enforcement Award in 1996. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1978 to 2003, reaching the rank of master sergeant, and graduated from the FBI National Academy.
Bulkley said the police captain’s ability to provide stability for the local department factored into his decision, as did the opportunity to promote another officer to captain after Sherer becomes chief.
“I think that’s important, too,” the mayor said.
His recommendation will head to the city council Sept. 5 for approval.
About 20 people applied for the police chief position, but only three showed up to take the civil service exam required to advance in the hiring process.
Those three men — Sherer, Columbus Police Sgt. Doug Molczyk and Bruce Ferrell of Elkhorn, a former Omaha police officer and current background investigator, security training manager and part-time Valley police officer — were all strong candidates for the job, Bulkley said.
“When it all came down to it, I think we came up with three very qualified candidates,” he said.
But it was Sherer who stood out above the others.
“I think the transition will be very smooth,” Bulkley said.
Sgt. Alan Wilkins will continue to serve as interim police chief until Sherer’s nomination is approved.