100 applicants want to be Rock Hill's new police chief

2 Rock Hill captains to split duties until retiring Chief John Gregory’s vacancy filled likely in Jan.

adouglas@heraldonline.comNovember 30, 2012 

— Two of Rock Hill’s police captains will rotate as acting police chief in December as the search for retiring Chief John Gregory’s replacement continues.

Gregory’s last day as chief is Saturday, and then captains Chris Watts and Steve Parker will split chief duties.

Gregory announced on Oct. 8 that he will retire after spending 40 years in law enforcement, including nine years as Rock Hill’s top cop.

The vacant position has attracted about 100 applications from as far as Arizona, City Manager David Vehaun said.

“I feel good we’ve gotten the word out on a nationwide basis,” said Vehaun, adding that applications are still rolling in.

The search has moved as quickly as possible, he said, and the city will likely hire Gregory’s successor by early January.

The department doesn’t “like being without a chief,” he said.

The National Association of Chiefs of Police will assist Rock Hill by conducting in-depth background checks on finalists, Vehaun said.

Vehaun held two input sessions in November to solicit public opinion on the hiring process. The city also conducted an online survey.

Employees and officers with the Rock Hill police department have also met with Vehaun since the search for a new chief began.

The department’s leaders, he said, feel comfortable with the police captains temporarily taking over chief duties.

Gregory, 57, was hired in 2003 as Rock Hill’s first black police chief. His tenure has been noted for the addition of new technology, more neighborhood-focused police patrols through the Weed and Seed program and outfitting a street crimes unit with new officers.

Vehaun expects many of the candidates for chief will come from within Rock Hill’s police force.

Gregory made major changes to the department’s leadership position when he arrived from High Point, N.C..

One of his greatest accomplishments, Gregory’s said, was helping “create and develop leaders within the agency.”

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

Anna Douglas 803-329-4068

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