COLUMBUS — The local Civil Service Commission didn’t have any trouble selecting finalists for the police chief position.
Of the roughly 20 people who applied for the job, only three showed up last week to take the civil service exam.
Those three candidates — Doug Molczyk and Chuck Sherer, both current members of the Columbus Police Department, and Bruce Ferrell of Elkhorn — were recommended as finalists by the Civil Service Commission.
Mayor Jim Bulkley said the list will be certified at the Aug. 21 city council meeting before interviews are scheduled with the candidates. He’ll eventually make his selection for police chief and pass that nomination along to the city council for approval.
The position has been open since early June, when William Gumm retired after 23 years as the city’s police chief.
Here’s a look at the three police chief finalists based on information from their applications:
Molczyk graduated from Meridian High School before earning a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Kearney State College and master’s degree in forensic science from Nebraska Wesleyan University.
He joined the Columbus Police Department as an officer in 1989 before being promoted to criminal investigator and drug investigator. In 2010, he became a patrol sergeant and shift commander.
The FBI National Academy graduate also taught criminal justice at Central Community College-Columbus for six years, has earned outstanding service awards from multiple groups and was named the Columbus Police Department Officer of the Year in 2002.
Molczyk currently serves on the Columbus Public Schools Board of Education.
Sherer graduated from Wakefield High School before earning an associate degree in criminal justice from Northeast Community College and bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, law enforcement and public advocacy from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He’s also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Sherer served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1978 to 2003, reaching the rank of master sergeant.
He joined the Schuyler Police Department as an officer in 1979 and was promoted to police chief in September 1980 at age 20, making him the youngest police chief in the state at that time, according to his application.
Sherer left the Schuyler department in 1997 for a police captain job in Columbus. He has been in charge of Columbus Police Department’s 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 currently teaches introduction to criminal justice classes as an adjunct instructor at CCC-C and works as a wrestling official.
Ferrell graduated from Westside High School in Omaha before earning degrees in chemistry from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and criminal justice and political science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he started for the football team in 1983 and 1984.
He was a police officer in Omaha for 23 years, retiring from the department in 2008.
Ferrell worked as a background investigator for the Bellevue Police Department from July 2008 to March 2015.
He’s currently a site training manager for G4S Secure Solutions in Omaha, supervising security officer training programs at a Google data center, and serves as a part-time police officer in Valley. Ferrell has his own consulting group and does contracted federal background investigation work.
He served two terms as president of the National Alliance of Gang Investigators Associations and eight years as chairman of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association.