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      Who will have a say in selecting Columbia's new police chief

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- As the capital city awaits the hiring of a new police chief, city leaders are looking at how to choose a chief who will last and what role the public might have in that selection process.

      City Manager Teresa Wilson will make the ultimate decision on who will replace Randy Scott as chief, but the city council and mayor are giving their input.

      "I talked with her just a little while ago, and we're looking at probably sixty days before we actually launch the search." said City Councilman Cameron Runyan.

      After going through ten permanent and interim police chiefs in the past thirteen years, leaders are wondering if the city can find someone with longevity.

      "We're going to meet with the city manager and also talk to some national organizations that'll often play an active role in helping find the best and brightest folks from around the country," said Mayor Steve Benjamin.

      City officials say they hope the public will have some input on the issue as well.

      "I think the public should have a say in what their concerns are," said Runyan. "What is the public's vision for the police department? What is the public's vision and goal for public safety?"

      "I think it always helps when people from the community have a chance to see the top three or four finalists and give some input as of how they feel about the candidates, and I expect that will become an integral part of our process," said Benjamin.

      According to city officials the search for the new police chief will be nation-wide and will begin 60 days after Ruben Santiago officially becomes interim police chief May 1.