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Police chief search continues— Village still seeks applicants

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Among the 18 candidates who have so far applied for the position of Yellow Springs police chief are three internal candidates, one former Village police chief and one finalist candidate from the previous chief search process. While Village Manager Patti Bates and the chief Search Committee is pleased with the quality of the candidates so far, Bates said this week that the Village will reopen its call for applications until Nov. 24 to allow those who may have been dissuaded by the education requirement to apply.

“The Search Committee is impressed with the qualifications of the present candidates, but the Committee also had a concern that we may have missed some qualified applicants who had extensive experience but no degree,” Bates said in an email last week. “There was a general feeling that experience can be an appropriate substitute for a degree.”

In its initial solicitation, the Village listed a bachelor’s degree as the minimum education requirement for the position.

Last week, after the close of the first solicitation deadline, the Village released the applications that have been submitted thus far in the process. The local candidates applying are Interim Chief Dave Hale, retired Sergeant Dennis Nipper and Officer David Meister.

Hale was appointed interim chief in September to replace Anthony Pettiford, who resigned after almost two years as head of the department. Hale, 51, retired as a major after 29 years with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department. He lives in Washington Township and indicated in his letter to the Village that he sees the permanent position “not [as] a stepping stone, but a place to spend the next decade.”

Having retired in 2010 as a sergeant after 38 years with the Yellow Springs police, Nipper, 64, still works part-time for the department and helps run the Village BP franchise he and his wife own. He grew up in the village and raised two children here and feels that his deep connections as a multiple generation local resident would serve him as chief.

Meister, 45, joined the department in 2009 after 10 years with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, where in addition to work as a biologist he helped to develop criminal cases against commercial poachers. He was also a reserve officer for three years with the City of Arlington Police Department in Washington state. Meister lives in the village with his family.

Two additional candidates have past experience with the village. Carl Bush served as Yellow Springs Police Chief from 2003 to 2005, after which he became captain and later chief of Butler Township Police Department. After retiring in 2012, Bush, 56, worked as the security coordinator of Miami Valley Career Technology Center. He has an associate degree in law enforcement from Sinclair, a bachelor of science in criminal justice administration from Park University, and has attained certificates in mid-level management and police command.

John Milstead, a finalist in the police chief search in 2011, has 27 years of experience in the policing and security of healthcare and educational institutions in southwest Ohio. He has also served as special deputy for the Madison County Sheriff’s Department since 2004.

Of the less familiar group of applicants, several have graduate degrees in criminology and administration. Minerva Park Police Chief Kim Nuesse has a bachelor of liberal arts from Xavier and a graduate degree in police executive leadership and has served as police chief and city commissioner of Sandusky, Ohio. Groveport Police Chief Gary York holds a master’s of science in administration and in his cover letter lays out his plan to reach retirement through Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund and then become a city manager or city safety director. And Perry Township Police Chief Robert Bowman holds a law degree from Capitol University but wishes to withdraw his application if Chief Hale “plans to stay” because he is “very capable” and “a good fit for Yellow Springs and you may not need to look further.”

Several emphasized their attraction to a small town. Dwayne Wheeler spent 10 years as a sergeant of gang and narcotics investigations in a Chicago suburb and now, with three young children, wants to live and work in a small town. Daniel Dvorak has worked for the Newport Police Department in Rhode Island for 22 years, holds a master’s degree in administration of justice and also wants to advance his leadership career in a small community. Spencer Police Chief Eugene Rice admires the pride villagers have in their heritage and hopes to be able to make a home for his family here.

The extension of the application deadline alters the hiring schedule slightly, but Bates is still aiming to have selected a candidate for Village Council’s approval by the Dec. 15 meeting. Bates and the Search Committee will now take the end of November to review all applications and schedule interviews for approximately three finalists the week of Nov. 8. The public will have a chance to meet the finalists that week at a date to be determined. The selected candidate will complete a physical/psychological review before Council’s final approval, which could be as late as early January if necessary.

The search committee was established last month with 14 members, including Village and police personnel and community members. This week, Yellow Springs Police Sergeant Naomi Penrod withdrew from the committee for undisclosed reasons. The other sergeant, Josh Knapp, remains on the commitee. The remaining members are Patti Bates, Melissa VanZant, Brian Housh, Lori Askeland, Dave Foubert, Tom Sexton, Rita Check, Milford Police Chief Sue Madsen, Aaron Saari, John Gudgel, TJ Turner and Leslie White.

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