Iowa City police chief finalists and public meet and greet announced

Iowa City Police Chief Meet and Greet

Senior Center (28 S. Linn St.) — Thursday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m.

Photo by Adam Burke
Photo by Adam Burke

Three police chief finalists will be in Iowa City next week for the final phase of the selection process, which includes a public meet and greet event on Thursday, Nov. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Senior Center.

The finalists include Rich Austin, Jr., who is currently a police captain in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina, Troy Kelsay, who is currently a police captain with the Iowa City Police Department, and Jody Matherly, who is currently a police chief in the Altoona Police Department in Iowa.

“I think we have three very strong finalists at this stage, and I’m interested to see how the public reacts to them,” Iowa City City Manager Geoff Fruin said.

Former Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine retired in July after 11 years as chief and is now the executive director of the Iowa Police Chiefs Association. Kelsay served as interim chief until he reached the legally-mandated 90-day limit in September. Iowa City Police Captain Bill Campbell has been serving as interim police chief since then.

The search has been ongoing since July, when the city hired Slavin Management Consultants to conduct a national search. From the original pool of 18 candidates, four semi-finalists were interviewed by committees made up of both community members and Iowa City staff and the three finalists selected.

During the Nov. 1 city council meeting, some members of the public voiced concerns about the search being conducted without asking for demographic information from candidates. They argued that the city should have focused more proactively on gathering a diverse pool of candidates.

“One of our goals when we started this process was to recruit as diverse an applicant pool as we can,” Fruin said. “That’s a goal when we’re hiring for any city position, but I think there’s a heightened interest with the police chief.”

However, he said mandating candidates disclose their race during the application process would be illegal.

During the meet and greet event next week, each candidate will be introduced, then the candidates will go to different areas of the room so that Iowa City residents can speak with each one individually and provide feedback through a comment sheet, an online survey or by emailing comments to For the comments to be considered, they must be turned in by Thursday, Nov. 17.

Fruin said he would take the comments into consideration before submitting a recommendation to the city council, which he hopes to do by the Dec. 6 city council meeting.

The candidates

Rich Austin -- Photo via City of Iowa City
Rich Austin — Photo via City of Iowa City
Rich Austin is currently a captain in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina, where he has served since 1993. He has worked in several roles including internal affairs, field services, community police officer and patrol officer. Before joining the Charlotte-Mecklenburg department, Austin served patrol officer and detective with the Pineville, North Carolina Police Department. Austin has a master’s in public administration, Christian education and music performance and is working toward a public administration doctorate.
Troy Kelsay -- Photo via City of Iowa City
Troy Kelsay — Photo via City of Iowa City
Troy Kelsay is currently a captain in the Iowa City Police Department. Earlier this year, he served as the interim chief for the police department and he has served in a number of other roles, including captain in charge of field operations, public information officer and lieutenant since he joined the Iowa City force in 1991. Kelsay was also a member of the Coralville Police Department from 1986 to 1991. Kelsay has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Iowa.
Jody Matherly -- Photo via City of Iowa City
Jody Matherly — Photo via City of Iowa City
Jody Matherly is currently the chief of police in Altoona, Iowa, a role he has held since 2012, and served as chief of police in Grinnell from 2003 to 2012. Matherly previously worked in the Flint, Michigan Police Department for 16 years — from 1987 to 2003 — and in a number of smaller departments in Michigan prior to that. He has a master’s in interdisciplinary technology.

More information about the search process and the finalists, including cover letters and resumes, can be found here.