"It was thought that they would be a good fit for our community," Helfenberger said of the finalists. "They're familiar with the area, and they all have experience in a lot of different law enforcement areas."
Thirteen people originally applied for the position, and seven dropped out of the race for a variety of reasons.
The six applicants took a written examination and participated in an oral interview with a panel that included Helfenberger, City Attorney Joni Keith, Mahaska County Sheriff Paul DeGeest, Fairfield Police Chief Julie Harvey, Ottumwa Public Safety Advisory Board member Jim Jackson and citizens at-large Himar Hernandez and Lorena Perez.
"We've made a lot of efforts to try to recruit minorities and women," Helfenberger said. "It seems like a lot of times we've come close to getting additional bilingual officers, and they get hired at a bigger city or metro area."
A public reception to meet the candidates will be held at 6 p.m. May 9 at Bridge View Center. Interviews with the City Council will be held the next day. The council will then formalize the appointment of a candidate at a future meeting.