McCloud hopes to hire police chief by October
Reynoldsburg Mayor Brad McCloud hopes to hire a new police chief by October following the resignation of Dave Suciu, who retired June 1 amid a departmental affairs investigation into his conduct.
"We are receiving letters of interest now and there is a five-member panel which will begin interviewing applicants next month," McCloud said. "That panel will narrow the field to three candidates and we'll interview those candidates late summer."
Asked about the qualities he was looking for in a new police chief, McCloud said, "I want someone who's going to be involved in the community and someone they see out. I want someone who is vested in the community and has a presence in the community."
The five-member panel includes Local FOP president Jim Gilbert, city resident Charlie McGraff, Saftey-Service Director William Smith, Powell Police Chief Gary Vest and Councilman Mel Clemens, who chairs the safety committee.
Lt. Jim O'Neill has been serving as acting police chief. Interim Chief Scott McKinley retired May 1 to accept a full-time position with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Suciu had been on paid administrative leave since Feb. 9 pending a departmental affairs investigation into his conduct and that of a patrol officer regarding a Dec. 28, 2011 incident involving a woman who was arrested by Pickerington police for carrying an unauthorized weapon in a motor vehicle.
According to a report by special investigator David Sturtz, the woman was in an extramarital relationship with officer Dan Downing and had sent him text messages indicating she had a gun and threatening suicide.
Downing's disciplinary hearing is set for Tuesday, June 26.
Sturtz has recommended that Downing receive a written reprimand and a three-day suspension, undergo further psychological evaluation and professional counseling and be placed on probation for a year, under close supervision.
"At that hearing, he'll have the opportunity to present witnesses and testimony and testify himself," McCloud said.
Reynoldsburg police used OnStar satellite tracking without a warrant to follow the woman. Sturtz's report said Pickerington police stopped the woman shortly after midnight for a traffic violation after she exited I-70 onto state Route 256.
That's when Pickerington police learned that Reynoldsburg police had been tracking her; according to the report, they knew nothing about her relationship with the Reynoldsburg officer, nor did they know she might have been armed. The gun, a nonduty weapon owned by the Reynoldsburg patrol officer, was found under the seat of the woman's car.
In his report completed last April, Sturtz said Suciu was briefed on the incident and determined it was handled properly with no need to notify city officials. He said the chief should have notified the administration.