35 candidates are in the race to replace Rochester's Chief of Police Roger Peterson who's set to retire in April. Applicants are in the screening process and will be interviewed during the last week of March, according to Peterson.
"What the community expects, what they demand, what they deserve, is a real challenge, and I've always felt really fortunate that I've had the opportunity to do that for almost the last 20 years now, and it's going to be a real change of pace to be on the outside looking into that," said Chief Peterson at one of his final Rochester Police Oversight Commission meetings.
The police chief is not involved in the hiring process and said that his absence in the decision is for the best.
"It's probably harder to do that with me in the room because they're talking about 'well we want to be better at that than you were', but that's the reality. You're looking at not maintaining a status quo, you're looking to be better," he said.
With the changing demographics in Rochester, the department is focusing on cultural competency by hiring more officers and staff with diverse backgrounds.
"We're not where we want to be by any stretch of the imagination, but it's one of those things where we see incremental progress."
He says in order to recruit more minorities, the department needs to invest in younger people.
"It's not something that, okay, we're gonna be hiring in July, so we'll start that process in June. You need to start that process five years ago."