After weeks of taking applications for the next Stephenville police chief, city administrator Alan Barnes said Tuesday that the search has been narrowed to 21 applicants.

“The candidates who have applied for the police chief position are unbelievable,” Barnes told the E-T. “In fact, we had to trim down our qualified list to a manageable number. We received applications from people across the country who are commanders, federal officers and FBI and Secret Service agents. We also have a couple of great internal candidates.”

The 21 candidates have been notified that they are still in the running and are in the process of filling out additional questionnaires that will be given to a panel of police chiefs who will rank them.

The city began looking for its next police chief in August when Chief Jason King was promoted to assistant city manager.

King will continue working in a dual role until the next police chief is named.

“We hope to have someone new in place by mid-January,” Barnes said. “We are going to hire the person who is the best fit for the community and department. We are going to get someone who is very, very good.”