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Published: Wednesday, 2/8/2006

Police chief starts duty next week in Fostoria

BY STEVE MURPHY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FOSTORIA - A Cleveland police lieutenant from Erie County has been chosen as Fostoria's new police chief.

John J. McGuire, 36, of Milan, Ohio, was to be formally introduced as head of the department at last night's Fostoria City Council meeting.

Mayor John Davoli said Lieutenant McGuire, who will begin his duties as chief Feb. 15, was chosen from a field of more than 35 applicants. The lieutenant has more than 16 years of law enforcement experience, including 12 years as a K-9 officer, and works with the Cleveland Police Municipal School District.

A graduate of Edison High School in Milan, Lieutenant McGuire is an Air Force veteran.

"We're just very pleased to have him," Mr. Davoli said yesterday afternoon. "He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table."

Lieutenant McGuire could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon.

City Council was to set the new chief's salary at last night's meeting. Mr. Davoli said he would be paid more than $60,000 a year.

Lieutenant McGuire will replace acting Chief Phil Hobbs, who has headed the department since August, 2004, when then-Chief Dennis Day was dismissed.

Mr. Day appealed his termination to Seneca County Common Pleas Court, which upheld the city's action. The city offered the chief's job on a permanent basis to Chief Hobbs last year, but he declined.

City officials then revised the job description for the position and asked the Fostoria Civil Service Commission to allow the consideration of external candidates for the job - a departure from prior practice.

The Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which represents the Fostoria department's command officers, sued the city to block the hiring of someone from outside the department, but Judge Steve Shuff of Seneca County Common Pleas Court refused last month to issue a permanent injunction.

Besides Mr. Day, who was accused by Fostoria officials of leaving town while on duty to visit an ex-girlfriend in Florida and other wrongdoing in office, several other members of the department have left amidst accusations of misconduct.

Detective Mike Clark resigned in August, 2005, after state and local officials alleged that he had interfered in a friend's drunken-driving case. He faces misdemeanor charges of falsification and obstructing justice.

Sgt. Nick Portentoso resigned in April, 2003, after being charged with stalking and threatening his estranged wife. He was convicted in November and was sentenced to jail last week.

And in December, 2001, Officer James Kieffer resigned while facing a domestic violence charge involving his wife.

"The folks down there in the department are fine people," Mr. Davoli said. "They just need some real strong leadership."

Contact Steve Murphy

at smurphy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6078.



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