The Cedar Falls city council is expected to vote on Mayor Rob Green’s decision to nominate Craig Berte as police chief when it next meets on Aug. 17.

Green announced Thursday that Berte was his choice to replace Jeff Olson, who recently retired as police chief but continues to serve as Cedar Falls’ Public Safety Director. Berte was selected from a group the included two other finalists, Capt. Mark Howard of the Cedar Falls police department and Lt. Derrick Turner of the Port of Portland, Ore.

"The first and second alternates for this position were also top notch," Green said in a press release. "Lieutenant Derrick Turner in particular brought some outstanding executive qualities to the table. But right now, I believe stability in the consolidated public safety model is key, so that we can evaluate its effectiveness and decide on the changes needed in the years ahead."

The selection process began in February with the solicitation of applications. Candidate interviews were held with civic leaders, area law enforcement officers, and the city's senior executive leadership. A televised meet-and-greet interview was also conducted with questions from residents, for the public to gain a better sense of the candidates, as well.

The process was abnormally long due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Another factor was a special city council election that was originally planned for March but was delayed until July.

"I believe it's important that this Police Chief appointment be decided by a fully-elected council," Mayor Green said. "With the special election concluded, we now do that."

Voters chose Kelly Dunn to fill the at-large seat in a run-off election this week. The seat was vacated in January when Green became mayor.

In a memo to the city council, Green noted several distinguishing qualities that set Berte’s application above the others. The mayor noted Berte’s 30 years of local police work, fifteen years of supervisory experience, his extensive positive relationships and reputation within the community, strong leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, and the Police Division’s demonstrated commitment to addressing racial injustice and use of force concerns.

Berte joined the Cedar Falls police department in 1991, starting his career as a patrol officer. He's been assistant police chief since 2007 and was appointed the city's acting police chief in 2020.

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