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Succeeding as an Assistant Chief

Assistant Chief Bill Reilly

I still clearly recall the telephone call: I was recuperating at home from shoulder surgery that had taken place a few weeks earlier.  Because I was a captain at the time and responsible for a police district, my surgeon told me to stay out of work until I could safely handle my field and administrative responsibilities.  In the few weeks that I was laid up, there was an abrupt change in leadership at my department. 

The acting chief that had been in place was removed by the city’s leaders and a new acting chief was installed.  The city leaders had vowed to conduct a national search for the department’s next permanent chief and this new acting chief, who had come up through the ranks, was to hold the position until that permanent chief was selected and installed. But I digress, back to the phone call.  It is the newly named acting chief of police asking: “Bill, how soon can you get back to work?”  After I explain my doctor’s recommended timeline the acting chief counters with: “Can you move that up?  I need someone up here that I can trust.”

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