Top cop weighs up retirement

Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan has sparked retirement speculation, revealing he is yet to decide if he will seek another term in the top job.

If he does quit, there is a healthy pool of local candidates waiting for a chance to fill his shoes.

Mr O'Callaghan, 57, told _The West Australian _he planned to make a decision by the end of this year about whether to stay.

"I have made no decisions at all, that is the truth," he said.

"People like to speculate about these things . . . but I have not spoken to the (police) minister about it yet and I do not think I will turn my mind to it until probably Christmas at least."

Mr O'Callaghan will notch up 10 years in the Commissioner's chair next month and still has 14 months to go before his current term expires.

He was not the State Government's first choice for the job back in 2004, but went on to become one of the most popular police chiefs in decades.

Speculation about his future was sparked by the Commissioner himself nearly two years ago when he indicated the importance of succession planning during this current term.

And eyebrows were raised last month when Mr O'Callaghan's loyal deputy Chris Dawson quit to take on the chief executive's role at the Australian Crime Commission. Mr Dawson had been viewed as a logical successor and his departure sparked a flurry of rumours Mr O'Callaghan was considering staying on.

If he does retire, Mr O'Callaghan's Deputy of Operations, Stephen Brown is considered the favourite to replace him.

But Acting Deputy of Specialist Services Michelle Fyfe is also viewed as a strong contender.

Former senior police officer and current Fire Commissioner Wayne Gregson denies he is interested in the job, but would also make a suitable candidate.

Assistant commissioners Duane Bell, Gary Budge and Paul Zanetti are also considered an outside chance.

Police Minister Liza Harvey refused to be drawn on speculation about who the next commissioner could be.

But she confirmed she had not spoken to Mr O'Callaghan about extending his contract.

The West Australian

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