Delaware News

Pijanowski tops among 28 competitors for chief's job

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A five-month, nationwide search for Delaware's next police chief ended with the selection of a veteran of the local department.

Bruce Pijanowski was named the city's police chief Monday, Oct. 15.

He has served as interim chief since May, when former Chief Russ Martin was appointed Delaware County sheriff.

Last week, Pijanowski accepted City Manager Tom Homan's promotion to the department's top spot.

Pijanowski, who began his career in law enforcement with the Delaware agency, said he's honored to take the job.

"I started in Delaware in 1988. I met my wife here. We dated and got married here, and now we have two children growing up and in high school here," he said.

"My neighborhood, friends, family -- my whole life is here in Delaware, and that's why it's so meaningful. It's an honor to have the support of the department, the residents and the community."

Pijanowski, 46, started his career as a patrol officer before before being promoted to sergeant in 1998 and detective sergeant in 2001.

He earned his captain's bars in 2005 and was promoted to assistant chief in 2012 before becoming interim chief.

He credits the initial promotion to captain, which put him in an administrative support role for the first time, for preparing him to take on greater responsibilities at the department.

"I started working with records and dispatch and the budget," he said. "Doing all those things and working under Chief Martin for that many years helped fill in the gaps in my development."

When the city launched a nationwide search for a new chief in the wake of Martin's departure, Pijanowski was a leading candidate.

City spokesman Lee Yoakum said Pijanowski stood out among 28 initial applicants, then earned top scores in an intensive series of tests and assessments.

The top eight candidates then participated in several meetings and interviews with city staff, local officials and union representatives.

"We advertised the opening in various national law enforcement publications and it attracted applicants from all over the U.S.," Yoakum said.

"They went through a battery of tests to gauge their ability to prioritize tasks and deal with unscheduled events. Pijanowski was the highest-scoring candidate coming out of the assessment center."

His veteran status and intimate familiarly with the city is an added bonus, Yoakum said.

Moving forward, Pijanowski said he wants to help the police department work smarter and use technology to become more efficient.

He added the department must work better with neighboring law enforcement agencies.

"Crime isn't local anymore," he said. "It's becoming regional, and the more we can work together without political boundaries in that regard, the better off we are."

Pijanowski lives in Delaware with his wife, Pam, and two children, Adam and Tessa. Both attend Delaware Hayes High School.

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