The town received 20 applications for the open police chief position by the Oct. 18 deadline, according to the search committee, which has begun a preliminary screening process. The applicants include members of the Hopkinton force as well as officers from across New England, according to Bob Levenson, chairman of the Police Chief Selection Committee. The panel will select candidates for interviews to be conducted next month, and then narrow the field to several finalists for recommendation to the Board of Selectmen. Richard Flannery retired as the police chief last spring, and Lieutenant Chuck Wallace, a 27-year department veteran, is serving as interim chief until a new department head is named. The town’s job posting says the anticipated starting date is Jan. 1.