Town of Zionsville Announces New Police Chief

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March 26, 2020

Mayor Emily Styron announces Michael Spears as the next Chief of Police for the Zionsville Police Department. Spears’ first day will be April 1.

Town of Zionsville Announces New Police Chief

This announcement comes after Chief Robert Knox retires after 35 years as a police officer and eight years in his current role.

“Chief Knox is a beloved member of our community and has been a leader in Zionsville and Boone County for decades,” said Mayor Styron. “I felt we owed it to the department and to the town to select a leader that could pick up where Chief Knox left off and carry us forward.”

Spears joined the Indianapolis Police Department in 1982 and served as the Assistant Chief of the Department and as the Chief of Police. In his most recent role with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), he served as a Deputy Chief responsible for the Performance and Policy Division.

“I am thrilled with the opportunity I have been given by Mayor Styron to lead the Zionsville Police Department,” said Spears. “Zionsville is an outstanding community with a police department dedicated to the care and protection of all. I am honored to serve alongside Mayor Styron, her staff and the members of the police department as we work together to provide the highest levels of professional service every hour of every day.”

In the coming weeks, Spears plans to meet individually with all members of the police department.

The search for Zionsville’s next police chief

Styron tapped veteran public safety executive Peter Beering to develop and manage the selection process.

Town of Zionsville Announces New Police Chief

Seventy candidates from across the U.S. applied. All candidates were thoroughly reviewed by a team of three former public safety executives, the former Chief of IMPD and the former Carmel police chief.

Eight candidates were interviewed by a panel of four members of Zionsville Police Department, Deputy Mayor Julie Johns-Cole, Zionsville Fire Chief James VanGorder, Town Council President Josh Garrett, Town Council Vice President Bryan Traylor, Chair of the Zionsville Police Commission Suzy Nagy, Community member Kenneth Johnson and the Assistant Superintendent of Operations for Zionsville Community Schools Rebecca Coffman. The interview process was conducted online due to the COVID-19 situation.

Mayor Styron interviewed the top two candidates.

“I asked each to tell me where they believed the department could go under their leadership and how they would lead the department in that direction,” Styron said. “One of my top priorities in making this selection is who demonstrated the best approach and experience to train and develop our officers for the future. A future that is defined by an inclusive community policing strategy that supports and protects our community. From the start, we have prioritized an open, fair and transparent process. This is a guiding principle of this administration.”