Entering Dalton Sign

Three candidates will compete to become Dalton’s next police chief, including a 23-year member of the force, Sgt. Deanna Strout.

DALTON — Though it has a raft of candidates, the citizens’ panel helping to find Dalton’s next police chief wants help narrowing the list.

“We want to make sure that we understand what they’re bringing to the table,” Joe Diver, a Select Board member who serves on the search committee, said of candidates. “Because it’s a very important selection for the town.”

Diver won Select Board approval Monday to pursue the allocation of roughly $8,000 to hire a consultant able to guide the latter stages of the search.

A new chief will replace Anthony J. Riello, a former Pittsfield chief tapped this summer to fill in after the town parted ways with former Chief Jeffrey E. Coe.

The board agreed to ask the town’s Finance Committee to review the cost and scope of hiring a consultant. If that panel agrees, the top board would authorize the spending.

“It’s a big investment. I think that’s something we absolutely should be doing,” Marc Strout, a board member, said of hiring outside advice.

Diver said the consultant would help the search panel review resumes — there are 16 so far — and participate in interviews with the finalists. The outfit hired would also recommend how best to assess the top choices.

As part of the review, Diver said the town may convene gatherings or forums that allow residents to meet finalists. Groups of town leaders may also be asked to meet candidates and provide evaluations. The search committee will pass along the names of two or three candidates to the Select Board, Diver said.

Along with Diver, the search committee consists of Andrew Perenick, Amy Aldridge, Michael Hinkley and Geoffrey Powell. Powell is a Dalton police sergeant and got a special call out from Diver on Monday night for his role advising the group on policing issues.

Coe left the department in June after reaching a settlement in the midst of a disciplinary hearing. The former chief received a $141,000 severance package after the town acknowledged it did not have sufficient grounds to sanction him for serious misconduct in office.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.