May 19, 2004 at 9:22 PM EST - Updated September 26 at 6:43 PM
The next chief of the Wilmington Police Department will be an outsider. No one on the force right now is among the six finalists for the job. And that includes the man in charge right now.
Over 90 people applied to be Wilmington's Police Chief. Now there are six finalists, and interim Chief Bruce Hickman isn't one of them.
Hickman took over the department three months ago when Tandy Carter left. It's been a tough period for a force criticized from several directions. No one is saying if that's one of the reasons the city is looking outside the department for its next leader.
Hickman cautions, whoever gets the job must be given time to settle in.
"No one internal is being considered," Hickman says. "So it will take time for the new person to meet everyone and get to know the department."
Mayor Spence Broadhurst will say little about the finalists--their names are still secret.
"We have six incredible candidates," Broadhurst admits.
As for Hickman: "I have enjoyed my time as interim chief."
Even though he'll be stepping down as chief, he plans to stay with the department.
"We have to support the new person, we all have a stake in this," says Hickman. "I am really excited and anxious."
Despite being passed over, Hickman says when the time comes, he'll give up his office---with a smile.
News 6 has also learned after the six finalists are interviewed on June 1st and 2nd, they will go before city council in a public forum to give Wilmington residents the opportunity to talk with the candidates. Mayor Spence Broadhurst says he hopes to have the position filled by the end of June.