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Published: 3/22/2006

Rossford: Field for police chief lowered from 26 to 6

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Rossford will be losing its police chief in just over a month, leaving the mayor with the job of finding a suitable replacement.

Police Chief Dennis Foy s last day is April 28, but Mayor Bill Verbosky, Jr., said he wants to name a replacement by the end of the month so the new chief can consult Chief Foy with questions.

To help him choose the best of the 26 candidates who applied, the mayor asked three other city officials to form a committee to review and narrow the pool. The committee is made up of the mayor, city administrator Ed Ciecka, law director Kevin Heban, and Caroline Zuchowski-Eckel, chairman of Rossford City Council s public safety committee. I m pleased with the pool [of applicants] and surprised not so much with the number, but the quality, Mrs. Zuchowski-Eckel said. There were not too many people who applied who we could cross off the list right away.

The applicants included three internal candidates and others living as far away as Florida.

Together, the committee chose its top 10, and the mayor ran the choices by Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, who grew up in Rossford and volunteered to give his input.

The committee then further narrowed their top 10 choices by looking at those who had experience in leadership and grant writing and who they felt could work well with a small budget.

We are not as top-heavy in long-time officers as we have been in the past, so we were looking for someone who could give us a fair amount of time and help with the direction of the department in the next couple of years, the mayor said.

Mrs. Zuchowski-Eckel said she wanted someone who would become a recognizable face in the community.

I m looking for someone who can come in and embrace the community and be involved so people know who they are, she said.

The top six were given hour-long interviews on March 9. They are:

• Allan Baer, a Perrysburg resident who has been the Portage, Ohio, police chief since 2000 and has been a Bowling Green police officer since 1997.

• Brian Cranny, a Rossford resident and sergeant for the Rossford Police Department, where he s been since 1989.

• John Ellison, a self-employed resident of Lenexa, Kan., who was the police chief in Edwardsville, Kan., for five years and West Linn, Ore., for three years.

• Patrick Jones, a Fostoria resident and Perrysburg police officer who has experience working as a special deputy in the Hancock County sheriff s office.

• George Taylor, a Toledo resident and lieutenant with the Toledo Police Department who worked as a Rossford patrol officer for six months in 1982 before joining the TPD.

• Robert Vespi, the Pemberville police chief who has experience as a detective patrol officer and a patrol officer for two police departments in Florida.

The mayor said the plan is to take his recommendation before council for approval before the end of the month after additional background searches are completed.



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