The Hilliard Division of Police promoted two officers to sergeant and one sergeant to lieutenant during a swearing-in ceremony Monday, Oct. 1 at the Hilliard Municipal Building.
Those promoted include a practicing attorney, an explosives expert and a former collegiate baseball player.
Hilliard Mayor Don Schonhardt administered the oath of office to Lt. David Plesich, Sgt. Curtis Baker and Sgt. Dave Cunningham. The officers' wives pinned on their badges during the ceremony.
Law Director Pam Fox and Police Chief Doug Francis also attended the ceremony.
Plesich is a graduate of Brooke High School in Wellsburg, W. Va., and the Ohio State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business.
After graduating from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy, Plesich joined the Hilliard Division of Police in 1987. He was promoted to sergeant in 1995.
In 2006, Plesich graduated from Capital University Law School. His private practice focuses on family law and criminal defense. He has taught constitutional law classes, with an emphasis on search and seizure laws, at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and the Hilliard's citizens academy, as well as for a private company.
In July 2011, Plesich was named an acting lieutenant, supervising the uniformed patrol division.
With the official promotion to lieutenant, Plesich's command was changed to that of the department's support services bureau, including detectives, police dispatchers and a newly created special investigative unit.
Plesich said his first order of business will be to help establish operating guidelines.
An initiative of Police Chief Doug Francis and other department personnel, the unit is being created for the purpose of attacking crimes and other problems in a concentrated manner.
The unit will have the flexibility and expertise to focus on problems as police identify them, Francis said on previous occasions when outlining the initiative. Francis has spoken about the initiative for several months, but said he first needed to solidify command staffing in the division.
Now, Plesich said, he awaits the assignment of a sergeant to the unit.
"Then we begin creating operational procedures," he said.
Plesich was the Hilliard Division of Police Employee of the Year in 2006 and 2011 and received the Hilliard Optimist Law Enforcement Appreciation Award in 2011.
Plesich and his wife, Kathleen, live in Dublin and have three adult children.
Cunningham, like Plesich, joined the Hilliard Division of Police in 1987 after graduating from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy.
A graduate of Bloom-Carroll High School near Lancaster, Cunningham was a patrol officer and a field training officer.
In 1989, he was assigned to the detective bureau where for the past 23 years, he has been assigned to general investigations.
Cunningham has attended courses at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia and the National Intelligence Academy in Florida, gaining expertise in crime scene investigations, homicide investigations, sex crimes, Internet-based crimes and explosives.
He received the Mayor's Award in 2007 and was named a Master Criminal Investigator in 2008 by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.
"I want to thank the police administration for this opportunity and honor," Cunningham said. "I look forward to serving the citizens of Hilliard and my fellow officers in my new capacity as a sergeant."
He and his wife, Pam, reside in Hilliard.
Baker is a graduate of Westland High School and attended Eastern Michigan University on a baseball scholarship.
After graduating from Eastern Michigan, Baker began his law enforcement career as a part-time officer for the Northville Police Department in Michigan.
He next worked as a full-time officer for the Eastern Michigan University Police Department, then joined the Hilliard Division of Police in 1999.
He spent 12 years as a third-shift patrol officer before he was assigned to the detective bureau in 2012.
While working in Hilliard, Baker graduated from Capital University Law School and is licensed to practice law in Ohio and federal courts in the Southern District of Ohio.
Baker is a certified law enforcement instructor and has been a guest instructor for the Franklin County DUI Task Force, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and the Geauga County Sheriff's Office.
He was the 2009 Hilliard Division of Police Employee of the Year and received the Mayor's Award in 2010, as well as the Hilliard Optimist Law Enforcement Appreciation Award.
"I am grateful for the command staff at the Hilliard Division of Police for their confidence in selecting me as sergeant," Baker said. "I look forward to serving this great community in this new capacity and will strive to provide excellent police services to the citizens of Hilliard."
Baker lives in Hilliard with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.