GERING, Nebraska — The Scottsbluff City Council has approved the police chief selection but shelved plans for consolidating police operations.
The council on Monday endorsed the promotion of Kevin Spencer, who has spent the past 11 years on the city's force. City Manager Rick Kuckkahn tapped Spencer as chief after he was scored the top candidate during interviews with the Scottsbluff Civil Service Commission.
City administrators had continued looking for a new chief even while Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman worked on a consolidation proposal that would have folded Scottsbluff and Gering officers into the county force.
In one of its first directives to Spencer, the council asked him to compile the consolidation research for future use by local residents and the council.
"There has been a lot of energy put into looking at how we can become more efficient, save taxpayer money and reduce crime," Mayor Randy Meininger said. "I do not want to lose any of that" good information, he said.
But, Meininger said, there has been scant support for consolidation.
"We are kind of at a stalemate," he said, noting that a consolidation proposal offered two years ago also attracted little support.
Among the problems: officers face a possible loss of seniority and other problems were they to become county deputies.
Someday, Meininger said, the idea of consolidation will resurface.
"We are willing to look at the issue if the community, the constituents want it," he said. "The community has to tell us what they want."