After three months without a police chief, the city of Hastings has appointed a new leader to the police department.
The Hastings City Council unanimously chose Peter Kortum to fill the spot vacated by longtime police chief Larry Thoren.
"I just think the community wants a person with a lot of experience that has programs in mind that they can bring from other cities. I think Pete brings some of that stuff," said Hastings Mayor Vern Powers.
Kortum currently serves as a captain for the Grand Island Police Department, where he has been since 1974. He beat out 26 other applicants, including two finalists from the Hastings Police Department.
Kortum said he couldn't be more thrilled to be Hastings' new police chief, calling it the right opportunity at the right time.
"You've heard the mayor talk about, they were looking for a chief that had to fit into their community, and we were doing the same thing, and I think it's going to be a great fit."
Kortum said he loves that the Hastings officers are really committed to service.
"I spoke at length with Chief Thoren before I started the process and that's one thing that he impressed on me, that the officers of his department are really committed to serving people and that's in line on of our mission. That's what we do. It was really comforting, exciting to know that, that's the way the Hastings police department is," said Kortum. "It's a mode of operation with which I agree, so it'll be comfortable for me to come to a department that views their mission that way."
Kortum will assume his new role on December 3, 2012. Grand Island Police Chief Steve Lamken said he's looking forward to working with Kortum as his Hastings counterpart.
"Pete was part of the fabric of the department. He is always very dedicated, hardworking, great communicator, great representative of the department and the city because he was involved in so many things civic-wise or community-wise," Lamken said.
Kortum's move means Grand Island will be looking for a new captain. Lamken said they will likely select an internal candidate.