McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Police/Courts

July 3, 2013

Wansick named MPD interim chief

McALESTER — McAlester Police Det. Capt. Gary Wansick was named interim police chief Wednesday morning.

Wansick said he visited with McAlester City Manager Pete Stasiak Wednesday. “He requested that I step in as interim police chief,” Wansick said.

Wansick is taking over the duties of former McAlester Police Chief Jim Lyles, who was relieved of his duties with the McAlester Police Department on Monday. Wansick said Stasiak estimated it would take about 60 to 90 days to fill the police chief position. “In that time period I will assume the duties and responsibilities of police chief,” he said.

“I’m just extremely pleased that (Wansick) is going to step forward and assist the city in this interim period,” Stasiak said Wednesday afternoon. The city manager plans to begin looking for a permanent police chief immediately. “We’re going to open this up internally for current city employees to apply for the job as well as externally — nationwide. My job is to find the right person for our citizens and our community,” Stasiak said.

Until the position is filled, Wansick will handle the police chief duties, Stasiak said.

Wansick has served MPD for 32 years. “In fact,” Wansick said, “I will have 32 years on Monday.” Wansick started with MPD as a patrolman, he said. And prior to his new position as interim chief, Wansick served as detective-captain for MPD. He said he will be handling duties for both positions until the police chief position is filled.

Although Stasiak said he could not comment about personnel matters, he did have this to say about his decision to relieve former Police Chief Jim Lyles of duties:

“This was a very difficult decision. Jim Lyles gave the city many years of distinguished service for our community.”

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

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