The choice for chief was tough, but a finalist has been chosen.
Tyrone Morrow from Fairfax County, Virginia will bring more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement to Bryan as the city's next police chief.
Ask those closest to the search for a new police chief in Bryan about the candidates, and you'll get similar responses, all centered around the idea that they wouldn't want to be the one to make the final decision.
City Manager David Watkins was that decision maker.
"Ty and Eric Buske were both homerun choices," Watkins said. "I thought Ty had a better experience background in building community relations between the police department and the community."
Omaha, Nebraska's Buske and Morrow were originally in a group of five finalists. In the end, they were the last two left to choose from. City officials went to their respective cities to see them in their environments.
In addition to Army service, Morrow has spent 23 years in the Fairfax County Police Department just outside Washington, DC. He's held more than a dozen positions throughout that time, including as the commander of the civil disturbance unit, a district police station and the technical service bureau. Recently, he headed up a division overseeing three bureaus, and since 2005, he's been the director of the Criminal Justice Academy in training local authorities. Interaction with numerous people came with the territory.
"He wants to get out and meet all types of people, all types of groups, so he understands the people he's dealing with," said Bryan Mayor Mark Conlee, who spoke for an hour with Morrow in one of his two visits to the city. "I was really impressed with that."
The Bryan department itself is in a state of transition. Construction on the new justice center is coming along. It will be the first building constructed specifically to house the police department.
Then there's violent crime reduction, a major focus of now-retired Chief Mike Strope. BPD saw declines in a number of categories in 2006. Building a team that will keep those numbers down despite growth is a key goal of Morrow.
"I think they are some dedicated, committed folks that have law enforcement as a passion," Morrow said of his soon-to-be colleagues at BPD, "and I just look forward to help them get in there and help lead them in a new direction."
"We've had different factions over the years and different police chiefs over the years, and so we definitely want to have some consensus building and team building there and bring everyone together," said Councilmember Jason Bienski.
Of note as well: Morrow will be the first African American to head up BPD. Of more significant note to local NAACP President Ann Boney: Morrow looks to be willing to bring a diverse community together.
"I think that's one of the things we need to focus more on in our area because we are as diverse as we are, many cultures here," Boney said. "That person needed to be culturally competent."
That's what all parties believe they got in Morrow.
"He's coming here knowing what we expect, so I want somebody who will give 110 percent, and I promise you, he will," Watkins said.
Morrow will begin work on September 10. He will wrap up work in Virginia and prepare his family to move in the meantime.
Morrow's salary will be $110,000 per year.
A mere formality in the process comes next week, as the city council must approve Watkins' selection of Morrow as chief.
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