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Police chief search narrows

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In its search for a permanent chief of police, the Village of Yellow Springs has narrowed its options to three candidates, including current Interim Chief Arthur Scott, Central State University Police Chief Anthony Pettiford, and John Milstead, security manager for Dayton Metro Libraries. The Village is currently scheduling visits to the village for each of the candidates and will host a public forum with each of the candidates on Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Bryan Center. Village Manager Laura Curliss hopes to appoint the chief by Oct. 19, she said last week.
Earlier in the month, four job applicants were interviewed by Curliss and a panel consisting of Village Council members Judith Hempfling and Jerry Simms, and local attorney Ellis Jacobs. The panel subsequently eliminated one candidate who did not meet the minimum education requirement.

Starting this week, each candidate will be invited to tour the local police department and meet with the officers, staff and Village Mayor, after which staff members are invited to submit their input to Manager Curliss. Villagers are then invited to do the same during the open forums, which will be held separately for each of the candidates.

John Milstead

John Milstead

Milstead, 52, has managed security for the Dayton library and the Ohio State University library for the past year, prior to which he led the redesign of security and served as police chief for the Lindner Center of HOPE, a mental health hospital in Mason, and the Ohio Department of Health Twin Valley center in Columbus. Since 2004 Milstead has served as an auxiliary deputy sheriff for Madison County. Altogether he has 31 years of experience in both public and private security and law enforcement.

Milstead loves small towns, he said in an interview this week, and believes in the person-to-person effectiveness of community policing. Being involved in security and policing in the mental health field for 22 years has honed the interpersonal skills he hopes to use to help residents in the community and keep them safe, he said.

“I believe that policing is 75 percent public relations and interactions — it’s more service than anything,” he said.

Milstead holds a two-year drafting and engineering degree from Tolles Technical School and is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons and the Scottish Rite, and he just finished his first fiction novel. He and his wife Cheryl reside in Washington Township, near their six children and grandchildren.

Anthony Pettiford

Anthony Pettiford

Pettiford, 51, currently serves as chief of police for Central State University in Wilberforce. He has been in law enforcement for 29 years, including 27 years with the Greene County Sheriff’s department and two with the Ohio Department of Homeland Security. As a sheriff’s deputy, Pettiford has served as patrol sergeant, division lieutenant, division major, jail administration major and regional SWAT team commander.

Pettiford grew up in Yellow Springs, looking up to former Yellow Springs Police Chief Jim McKee, he said in an interview this week. “Growing up as a young black male, you didn’t see a lot of black law enforcement officers at that time. Black police officers were bigger than life to me,” he said. “The reason I got into law enforcement was because of Chief McKee.”

After graduating from Yellow Springs High School in 1979, Pettiford attended Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and later Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command and the FBI National Academy (University of Virginia.) Following McKee’s advice to gain experience in bigger units outside the village, he climbed ranks as a sheriff’s deputy and took opportunities for different experiences as they arose, including the post at Central State, where he’s been for three years. Pettiford and his wife Jodi, a teacher at Mills Lawn School, have raised three children in the village, where the couple currently resides with one daughter.

Interim Chief Arthur Scott

Interim Chief Arthur Scott

Prior to coming to Yellow Springs this spring, Chief Scott spent a year in Afghanistan as an advisor to that country’s police force strategy and policy leader. Having retired in 2008 after seven years as chief of Beavercreek police, he decided he liked working better, and headed overseas. Before Beavercreek, Scott served as chief of Milford and Mason police departments and before that, spent 15 years as a patrol officer and sergeant in Lebanon, the area where he grew up.

Scott came to Yellow Springs to make a good police department even better, he said this week. He enjoys the challenge of being a “change agent” and hopes to see through the advanced training of several young officers and make the department a place they want to spend their careers.

“I’m invested at this point,” he said. “Most smaller departments tend to be feeders for bigger agencies, but what you want is good people to stay here for their careers. The only way to do that is to make this a good, positive place to work, and I think I can provide a path to do that.”

Scott holds a bachelors and a masters degree in law enforcement from the University of Cincinnati, which he earned going to school part time for 12 years on the GI Bill. He also graduated from a three-month course at the FBI Academy in Virginia. He currently lives in Lebanon.


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