TEMPERANCE - Bedford Township is about to get its version of a new police chief.
Lt. Dale Malone, a veteran of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, will officially take over command of the Sheriff's Bedford Township substation this week from Lt. Dan Motylinski, who's held the post for more than two years.
Lieutenant Malone has most recently worked as a road patrol shift supervisor on midnights and will take over command of about two dozen deputies, detectives, and command officers assigned to the substation.
Lieutenant Malone will also command the six-person contingent of Sheriff's deputies paid for directly from the Bedford Township general fund. Under an agreement with the county, the township pays 80 percent of the salary and benefit costs of five of the deputies, and 100 percent of the cost for the sixth deputy.
Township officials have recently discussed increasing their contingent of "contract" deputies in the coming year in order to increase the police presence on Bedford Township's roadways. Right now, the township spends about $500,000 on its six contract deputies, while the cost of beginning a township police department has been estimated to be more than $2 million a year.
Lieutenant Malone's assignment is part of a larger command shuffle within the sheriff's office caused by two retirements this week.
Maj. Jim Heisler, who's been with the department since 1971, is retiring effective Saturday, but will stay around as a "reserve major" and be the primary pilot for the sheriff's new patrol helicopter.
Major Heisler's retirement comes only six months after former Sheriff's Maj. Tom Scott retired his position to move into the private sector. Former Lt. Larry Clock was promoted to Major to fill that position.
Also retiring after more than 30 years on the job is Capt. Tom Hudson, who has served as the command officer overseeing all road patrol operations for the past several years.
The two top-level retirements have caused a "trickle-up" effect within the ranks just as recently re-elected Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield begins his third consecutive term.
Lieutenant Motylinski is being promoted to the rank of captain and is assigned to take over for Captain Hudson, while longtime traffic investigator Tim Garbo is being promoted to the rank of sergeant and will fill the shift commander's position left vacant by Lieutenant Malone's promotion.
The game of command musical chairs within Monroe County's main law enforcement agency isn't over yet, however. Sheriff Crutchfield said last week that he would announce early next week who will fill Major Heisler's position as the administrator largely in charge of things like the departmental budget, fleet maintenance, and other administrative functions.
"I need someone in that position that's going to be very strong on budgetary issues, that's what I'm looking for," the sheriff said. "Our budget is going to continue to shrink in the coming years."
Sheriff Crutchfield indicated that the individual named to the position might not necessarily come from the current upper echelons of the command structure
"The [two] majors and the jail administrator are my right-hand positions, and I have to gauge who is going to be most effective in those positions and who is going to bring to the position what I need there right now," Sheriff Crutchfield said.
The sheriff also indicated that he intends to seek at least one more four-year term in office, saying he announced his intention to seek a fourth consecutive term in 2008 as a way to head off some of the early campaigning to succeed him that was already beginning to take place within the departmental ranks.