A three-year period during which more than a third of the Sylvania Police Department has retired or resigned, with new officers hired as replacements, has drawn to a close, Mayor Craig Stough said in a Mayor's Message issued last week.
Nine of the 11 vacancies filled since February, 2008, occurred because of retirements, many of them resulting from the state of Ohio's retirement-incentive program in effect at the time. They took with them a combined 296 years of experience in the department, and their ranks included Police Chief Gerald Sobb, Mayor Stough noted.
"That is a great deal of experience to lose," he wrote. "They all served our community well and with distinction, and I thank them for their many years of service."
The need to hire and train new officers was so significant that Sylvania City Council in July, 2009, authorized a temporary increase in the department's patrol strength, from 26 to 32 officers so that new hires could be trained two at a time. The increase took effect Sept. 1 of that year, and expired on Feb. 1, 2011.
Capt. William Rhodus' succession of Chief Sobb was followed by two more promotions, of Sgt. Rick Schnoor to captain and of Officer Stacey Pack to sergeant.
The newly hired officers had experience ranging from 1 1/2 years of part-time police work to eight years as a full-time officer, and they came from police departments around northwest Ohio, including Toledo, Findlay, Montpelier, and Fostoria. Others formerly worked for the Lucas County Sheriff Department or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Also during the past three years, Mr. Stough wrote, three of the police department's dispatchers retired and were replaced, with two of the vacancies filled by dispatchers from Toledo with six and eight years, respectively, of experience.
More retirements are pending from other city departments as more "Baby Boom" generation employees reach appropriate ages, the mayor noted.
"We will seek the best replacements available for the positions and also look at restructuring how the city works to better serve the community," he wrote. "But as with the police division, we will lose a great deal of experience, know-how, and institutional knowledge."