Interim Chief's Interest Complicates Search For Next Boss

Nov 9, 2015

Interim Police Chief Jason Soto signals his interest in the top job during a press conference on Monday. City Manager Andrew Clinger, left, says it would be up to City Council to change the requirements in order for Soto to apply.
Credit Julia Ritchey

  Reno’s Interim Police Chief wants to take over the top job permanently, but there’s a slight catch. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey reports.

Interim chief Jason Soto has been on the job for seven months since the last chief retired.

“This is a job that I do want and would accept if extended by the [City] Council, but I understand the restrictions and limitations,” he says. 

Those limitations include the minimum qualifications for a candidate to apply, like a bachelor’s degree, which Soto doesn’t have.

The city is paying a Colorado search firm $22,000 to conduct a national search for the next boss, but that process has only just begun.

During a press conference today [Monday], City Manager Andrew Clinger said it would be up to City Council to change the minimum qualifications as written in Reno’s municipal code.

But Clinger was quick to praise Soto’s tenure so far.

“The morale there, first of all, is probably better than we’ve seen in a long time, and plus, his outreach to the community has been amazing," said Clinger. "Obviously, the decision to go out with the recruitment in no way reflects on Chief Soto, or Chief Soto’s leadership.”  

Soto has been with the Reno Police Department for almost 19 years. He’s currently taking night classes and will have his education credits completed in about a year.

The city manager says the police chief search should take another six months to complete.