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Published: Wednesday, 4/19/2006

Chief likes new hat but doesn t want 2

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Robert Bo Vespi, Jr., said he is relieved to be strictly involved in the operations of a police department again.

The former Pemberville police chief, who was sworn in last week as the new Rossford police chief, also used to be the personnel supervisor in Pemberville.

I wore two hats in Pemberville, but I m not a city manager, he said. I m a cop. And I wanted to be more involved in a larger police department, and this opportunity became available.

He s now leading the 14 full-time police officers in Rossford, which is a big change from Pemberville, where Chief Vespi was one of two full-time officers in addition to four part-time officers and 23 members of a police auxiliary.

But his experience as a personnel supervisor taught him something about communication between the police department and the city administration it s just as important to be a good listener as it is to be a good communicator.

After growing up in Herkimer, N.Y., Chief Vespi, 35, spent time in Germany while in the U.S. Air Force.

But he said he always knew he wanted to be a police officer, so in 1994, he moved to Florida and started his law-enforcement career in the state s corrections department in 1996.

Then in 1998 he became a patrol officer and field training officer at the Pinellas Park Police Department.

Two years later, he moved up to be a detective and Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer at the St. Petersburg Beach Police Department, staying until 2003.

Because he and his wife, Tina, wanted to raise their four sons ages 4, 6, 10, and 11 up north, they packed up and moved to Pemberville when he became police chief there.

We wanted better opportunities for our children, he said.

While he still lives in Pemberville for the time being, the Vespi family plans to move closer to Rossford.

Rossford officials were looking for a police chief because Chief Dennis Foy will retire on April 28. He is using earned personal leave from early April until that date.

Mr. Vespi was chosen from a pool of 26 candidates who applied for the job.

Before recommending Mr. Vespi for the $55,000 position, Mayor Bill Verbosky, Jr., asked several city officials and Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn for advice.

He said criteria he was aiming for included someone who had experience in leadership and grant writing and who could work well with a small budget.

He was already a chief of a surrounding community and had knowledge of Wood County, the mayor said. We liked his enthusiasm that he gave for his profession, and he gave us the impression that he would be around for awhile.

Mayor Verbosky said Chief Vespi intends to meet with the police officers one on one to get their thoughts on an overall plan for the department in the future.

We were looking for somebody who would grow with the department, the mayor said We have a department that is relatively young, and we liked the idea that he would mix well with the officers that we already have there.

Mr. Vespi s new job leaves Pemberville without a police chief or a personnel supervisor.

Clerk-Treasurer Sue Frizzel said the village is accepting applications for the position and has appointed Sgt. Jeff Molnar as interim chief until a permanent one is named.



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