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Published: 7/31/2006

Questions linger in wake of suicide

BY DAVID YONKE
AND CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

As friends and co-workers continued to mourn the death of Holland Police Chief Doug Kaiser yesterday, questions remained about why the veteran officer took his own life.

"It's a big shock," Holland Mayor Mike Yunker said last night. "Right at this point, we're just trying to deal with what has happened and not so much [with] what transpired moments before."

Co-workers, fellow officers, and passers-by left flowers and signed Chief Kaiser's police cruiser, parked in front of the village administration building as a makeshift memorial.

The 45-year-old police chief, born and raised in Holland, shot and killed himself in Sidney, Ohio, after being chased by police officers from two southern Ohio police departments and Shelby County sheriff's deputies.

Police in Sidney, about 110 miles south of Toledo, declined to release any further information yesterday.

At 8:50 p.m. Friday, law-enforcement agencies received a message directing them to a suicidal adult male in Tipp City, about 15 miles north of Dayton.

Nearly two hours later, officers spotted Chief Kaiser's Dodge Durango on County Road 25A. The chief refused to stop and officers pursued him until they used spikes to blow out a tire in Sidney. Officers said they observed Chief Kaiser, still seated in the SUV, shoot himself in the head with a handgun.

Mayor Yunker said yesterday that he worked closely with Chief Kaiser for 15 years and considered him a close friend.

"You can never tell with people and their feelings. They may act one way on the job, another way at home," Mayor Yunker said. "I did not know how his personal life was going."

He said the village is making counselors available to those who worked in the office and in the field with Chief Kaiser.

Officer Rick Gallaher of the Port Authority Police said Chief Kaiser worked part time for 12 years at Comair, a Delta Airlines subsidiary, at Toledo Express Airport. "Everyone's in shock. They all loved him down there," Officer Gallaher said. "He was easygoing and always helpful."

He said Chief Kaiser worked a number of jobs for Comair, including selling tickets at the counter and loading luggage. He said the chief met his wife, a Port Authority police officer, through his Comair job.

At the village offices, dispatcher Jess Modlin left a message that said, "Doug, there are no words to say how much you will be missed. We will never forget you."

Village Administrator Harry Barlos had said Chief Kaiser early last week requested to be off from work Friday to go camping. Mr. Barlos said he had no other information about the chief's trip.

Chief Kaiser was hired as a part-time officer in 1982 while still working full time for the village street department. He became a full-time officer in 1985 and was promoted to chief four years later.

The department has eight full-time officers, including the chief.

Mayor Yunker said visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Neville Funeral Home, 7438 Airport Hwy. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday in Springfield High School.



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