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Published: Wednesday, 7/23/2008

Pemberville seeking new police chief

Opelt Opelt
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The village of Pemberville will keep its police department and will interview candidates for a new chief. This follows a series of town hall meetings where residents made it clear they wanted the department intact.

The eight finalists for the police chief position were selected from a pool of about 25. They were selected by Mayor James Opelt and Deb Cartledge, fiscal officer for the village.

The eight finalists are:

•Robert Bartz, chief of the Portage Police Office.

• Andrew Bernritter, who is in charge of booking for the Lucas County Sheriff's Department.

•Richard E. Bingham, a lieutenant with the Wauseon police department in Fulton County.

•Matthew Douglas, a sergeant with the Cairo Police Department and a clerk for the Cairo Mayor's Court in Cairo, Ohio.

•David Mechel, a patrolman with the Woodville Police Department.

•Gregory Senyo, a corporal with the Wayne Police Department.

•John Tolbert, a lieutenant with the Port Jefferson Police Department in Shelby County, Ohio.

•James Waltimire, the Pemberville Police Department's captain of auxiliary officers.

Keith Madaras, a member of council, said the finalists will be interviewed by the village council safety committee and by a citizens' committee that will include business and civic organization leaders. Each committee will rank the finalists, and their results will be compared.

The next council meeting will take place on Aug. 5.

"In an ideal situation, we'd be able to have an appointment before us at that council meeting," Mr. Madaras said.

"If everything goes well, we could hire a new chief at the meeting," he added

The mayor will appoint the new police chief, pending the approval of council.

The police chief search was spurred by the resignation of Jeff Molnar, who tendered his resignation in June, effective July 31.

After Mr. Molnar's resignation, the village began exploring whether to dissolve its police department and contract for extra law enforcement with the Wood County Sheriff's Department, or hire a new chief.

During two subsequent town hall meetings, those who attended overwhelmingly favored keeping the department intact and hiring a new chief. The department's 2007 budget was $197,492.

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