City officials are expected to announce five or six finalists early next week to replace outgoing Bremerton Police Chief Craig Rogers.
Rogers is set to retire Feb. 13 and Mayor Patty Lent says that his replacement should be in place by mid March.
"There will be a span, but we have two captains and we have our lieutenants and sergeants," Lent said. "I feel comfortable that we can forestall a shortfall. I don't foresee a gap of more than 30 days between (Rogers') retirement and hiring a new chief."
Lent said that she has had a good working relationship with Rogers, who will have put in 37 years at the city when he steps down.
"When I got here he was looking to take early retirement and I asked him not to," Lent noted.
Greg Prothman, whose firm the Prothman Company is handling the search for Rogers' replacement, said that 36 people applied for the job. Prothman wouldn't say whether any folks with local ties applied for the job, but noted that most applicants were from the west coast.
"In my estimation, it's a strong group of semi-finalists," Prothman said.
Lent said she is looking for someone with strong leadership skills to take over as chief.
"I want somebody that will work with the troops," Lent said. "We're hoping to do some annexations so we will have to be strategic with our police force. We won't be able to hire as rapidly as we'd like to so we will have to be a little lean until annexation takes place because it does bring in more revenue."
As part of the search for Rogers' replacement, Prothman said that his company sent out 640 letters to police chiefs in cities of comparable size to Bremerton, ran notices in 17 western states and placed 12 ads in professional journals.