Malik Evans, mayor-elect of Rochester, N.Y. , said finding a permanent police chief will be one of the most important decisions when he takes office on Sunday. The search for the perfect candidate is almost mythical, Evans told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Finding the right person is almost like looking for a "unicorn," he said. With the city reeling after a historically violent year, including a record-setting 81 homicides, Evans said the city has launched a nationwide search to find the next leader of the 720-member department. Evans, 41, a city council member and former school board president, said the search won't be easy. Because the market is intensely competitive and he's looking for a person that meets a specific set of criteria, the choice most likely will come from outside the ranks of the Rochester Police Department. "You’ve got three main people in the community that people look to for leadership — the mayor, the school superintendent and the police chief. All three of those need to be working together and strong. The police chief is important, because the police chief also plays a role in economic development in the city," Evans said.
He added, "They are one of the chief economic development officers even though they carry a badge. Why is that? Because if people have the perception that you can’t trust the police or people have the perception crime is out of control, it is going to be hard to do anything in the city ... "It’s very competitive in the market right now. Two weeks ago, I was just with 26 other mayors and almost all of them are looking for a new police chief ... "A lot of people don’t want to go into the profession anymore. We’re down a number of officers in Rochester. The challenge is how do you find that person that sees it as a service and can really come to Rochester and understand that they’re not just a chief but really a community ambassador."