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

DALTON — Three finalists to lead Dalton’s police department all have at least two decades in uniform. One of them spent all of those years of policing in Dalton.

Deanna Strout, who became a sergeant in the department this fall, will take her candidacy to become Dalton’s police chief to a final round of interviews Feb. 9 with members of the Select Board.

Strout was named a finalist Thursday in a vote by the town’s Police Chief Selection Committee, along with fellow contenders Jamie Berger, a detective sergeant with the Wayland Police Department, and Capt. Robert Derksen, who serves with the Cortland, N.Y., sheriff’s department.

After quizzing the finalists Feb. 9, the Select Board will meet two days later, on Feb. 11, to discuss the candidates and pick a chief.

The candidate chosen will replace former Chief Jeffrey E. Coe, who left last summer, with a year’s salary, after coming into conflict with the board.

Joe Diver, the board member who led the search panel, said the recruiters are pleased to have three competing candidates of high caliber. “We’re actually pretty proud of what we accomplished — and the thought process that went into it,” he said.

Diver said that the search committee wanted a chief able to bring a focus to community policing and to provide leadership on police reform during a time of changing state policy.

The town hired a consultant, Public Safety Consultants LLC, to advise the search committee. The panel reviewed 24 applicants, Diver said, then asked nine of them to respond to essay questions. Five candidates moved on to interviews, Diver said, and from there four were invited to submit their candidacies to an assessment program overseen by the consultants.

Since one of the four candidates dropped out before the assessments, all of the eventual finalists engaged with an assessment team made up of three current or former police chiefs and a representative of Public Safety Consultants.

On the evening of the Feb. 9 interviews, a representative of the consulting group will brief the board and listeners on the selection process. The candidates were ranked based on the assessments; their positions in the ranking will be revealed that night, Diver said.

In a final step before Thursday’s unanimous vote by the search panel, the candidates met with Dalton residents gathered into groups interested in particular aspects of policing — including advocates for elders, for the school community and for emergency services.

Both Berger and Strout hold master’s degrees in criminal justice. Strout also earned a master’s in public administration and criminal justice administration.

Strout’s husband, Marc, is a member of the Select Board and will recuse himself from the board’s discussion and vote. The interviews will be streamed on Zoom and carried on Dalton community TV.

The decision on a new chief will come a week after the board picks a new town manager. Three candidates have been interviewed and the board is expected to discuss and decide on a new manager Monday.

After picking a chief Feb. 11, Dalton officials are allocating two weeks for contract negotiations. That puts the new chief’s likely start time in mid-March. The town plans to extend the contract of Anthony Riello, the former Pittsfield chief acting as interim leader in Dalton, for a month or so to ensure a transition within the department, Diver said.

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