Patrick Reese is Evansville’s next full-time police chief, pending the city council’s approval. He has been the city’s interim police chief since July.


Patrick Reese has never been a spur-of-the-moment guy.

Reese weighs the pros and cons of every decision, mulling over how it will affect his life.

When the police chief job opened up at the Evansville Police Department, his inner muse—and many of his colleagues—told him he needed to apply.

This week, the police commission recommended that Reese, 41, the interim police chief since July, become the full-time chief.

The city council will approve the recommendation next week.

Being a police chief “feels like the most logical next step,” Reese said. “For me, it’s always what’s the next thing I can do to challenge myself. I love law enforcement.”

Reese will be paid $85,000 to $89,000 and will oversee about 15 people, including nine officers, a lieutenant, a sergeant, part-time staff and two secretaries.

The city paid GovHR $18,000 to advertise the job, conduct the search and perform background checks. The company narrowed the 21 applicants down to six candidates.

A community survey on what residents wanted from their police chief was used as a guide.

A committee that included City Administrator Ian Rigg, Mayor Bill Hurtley, council President Jim Brooks and public safety committee Chairwoman Dianne Duggan reviewed the six applications with the consultants and narrowed the list to four.

The committee then interviewed those four, said Rigg, who noted that they were “impressive.” Hurtley presented two finalists to the commission with Reese as the favorite, and the commission agreed.

Rigg said using GovHR as a consultant helped ensure the process wasn’t biased. He said residents will continue to see Reese involved in the community.

“For the department itself, we feel we got someone they are familiar with,” Rigg said. “I think we got someone that will lead by example … and act in a very highly ethical manner and will stress that ethics matter most.

“He’s just one of those people that takes very seriously the public’s trust.”

Reese began working in law enforcement at age 19 as a part-time dispatcher. He joined the Evansville Police Department in 2005, working his way up to the rank of lieutenant.

“I know all of the operations of this department inside and out, and so that’s going to help me, and that’s going to help the transition be easier for the staff and the community,” Reese said.

Rigg said Reese impressed the committee.

“There’s been little things along the way, and anyone who wants to emerge as a leader … you assume the next mantle through a lot of the things that you do, and he’s just done that over the years,” Rigg said.

When Reese got a call from Hurtley on Tuesday, he had a hard time holding back the excitement.

“It’s quite humbling,” he said. “You go to work every day and do what you’re supposed to do, and you don’t give it a lot of second thought. To realize the impact we’ve had on the community in this department and the support that I had to apply, it’s awesome.”

Reese said the department will continue to be visible and personable.

“I’m not a hard-nosed guy,” he said. “That’s not how I operate. I want a friendly community, and I want the police officers to be friendly.”

He believes people are more important than meeting a ticket quota.

“They’re not getting a ticket-number-driven police chief. It’s going to be, ‘Let’s take care of each other and fix problems,’” Reese said.