The search for a new Galveston police chief has been narrowed to three candidates, City Manager Brian Maxwell said Friday.

The three remaining candidates are Deputy Chief of Police Vernon Hale of the Dallas Police Department, retired Houston Police Department Executive Assistant Chief George Buenik and Galveston City Marshal Michael Gray, Maxwell said.

The city received 46 applications for the position and interviewed seven on Wednesday and Friday, Maxwell said.

Hale has worked for the Dallas Police Department his entire career, since 1992, city officials said. He also holds a master’s of science degree in criminal justice from the University of North Texas and is an adjunct professor of criminal justice for several colleges in the Dallas area.

George Buenik retired March 2017 from the Houston Police Department, where he had worked for 34 years, officials said. Buenik chaired the 2017 Houston Super Bowl Public Safety Committee. He holds a Master of Science in criminal justice management from Sam Houston State University, officials said.

Michael Gray is Galveston’s city marshal. Before coming to work for the city in 2014, he served 13 years with the Galveston Police Department, officials said. Gray is also the city’s special projects manager, downtown business liaison, director of code enforcement and director of parking control. He holds a Bachelor of Science in maritime administration from Texas A&M University, officials said.

Gray was a finalist in the city’s last search for a police chief in 2016.

An interview panel of five city officials and two community members conducted the first round of interviews.

Maxwell will begin conducting final interviews next week, he said.

Maxwell said he hopes to make a decision by the end of the year and have the new police chief serve concurrently with Police Chief Richard Boyle during his last month or so in the position.

Boyle announced in October he would retire in February. Boyle began his law enforcement career in Galveston and rose through the ranks. He moved up to the position of captain before joining the University of Houston-Downtown Police Department in 2000 as an assistant chief of police. He became the chief of police there in 2003.

By the time Boyle retires, he will mark a 40-year career in law enforcement.

Samantha Ketterer: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter at @sam_kett


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