PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The job opening to be Providence’s next police chief is officially posted online for applicants, and Mayor Brett Smiley said Friday the public will know the names of the finalists.

The city needs a new police chief after Col. Hugh Clements decided to leave for a new job, which he has not yet disclosed. Clements is still currently the chief and will advise Smiley on the selection of his successor.

“I want to make sure that we have an exceptional leader who cares about community relations, who’s committed to community policing, but is also willing to focus on the priority that I’ve set for quality-of-life crimes,” Smiley said in a news conference.

Watch the news conference in the player below.

Smiley announced Friday that a number of finalists — roughly 3 to 5 — will be publicly named and will attend a public forum on Feb. 8, moderated by Cedric Huntley from the Nonviolence Institute and Dr. Pablo Rodriguez.

There is also a new survey in English and Spanish for the public to weigh in on their desired qualities in a police chief. The community can also submit questions for chief candidates, which may be asked during the public forum in February.

“Community buy-in, community support and community input is critical to use finding the right next chief,” Smiley said. “This is not a decision that can be made privately.”

The mayor said at his inauguration that he is likely to hire a police chief from within the department, though the application is open to all. He said again Friday he has a “preference for someone who either is currently serving in the command staff or who has spent most of their career policing in Providence.”

Some former Providence Police officers who now lead other departments have expressed interest in applying for the job. But in response to a question from 12 News, Clements said he believes his successor is on the current command staff.

“We have great leadership under my command,” Clements said. “I do believe that.”

Clements said there is “great interest” in the job from within the department.

The Providence Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3 also urged the mayor to promote the next chief from within.

“We hope the process will be fair and transparent, with some weight being put on the candidate’s ability to engage with and work with the communities we serve, and some weigh being put on the candidate’s ability to relate to and worth successfully with the rank and file and with the FOP,” the union’s leader Michael Imondi said.

“We believe we have that within our ranks,” Imondi continued.

Clements’ departure date has not yet been announced.

It’s unclear if Smiley will appoint a public safety commissioner to replace Steven Paré, who left earlier this month. Smiley said he hasn’t yet decided what to do with that position.

The mayor did appoint a fire chief for the first time in years, naming Derek Silva to the job.