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Published: Saturday, 6/16/2007

Mayor of Portage says new police chief to stay

PORTAGE, Ohio Mayor Richard Gill said the village plans to keep its new police chief even after learning he previously was fired for dishonesty.

Village officials learned earlier this month that Chief Robert Bartz, who was hired May 7, had been terminated in 2004 after 14 years with the Napoleon Police Department for an incident in which he lied and then became aggressive with a command officer who was questioning him.

The mayor said he has met with the chief, made telephone calls to Napoleon and also Leipsic, Ohio, where Mr. Bartz also is employed as a police officer, and discussed the issue with council s police committee.

From everything I ve seen and talked to other people, he s a very honorable man. He made a mistake, and we ll deal with that, Mr. Gill said. He ll get an evaluation at three months and a final evaluation at six months.

Village Council meets at 7 p.m. Monday. The mayor said that while the issue may be discussed, it s my decision. In my mind, I m not going to throw him under the bus.

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