Even though he's coming from South Carolina, Reynoldsburg's new police chief has deep roots in central Ohio.

Before joining the police force in Charleston, South Carolina, David Michael Plesich was a lieutenant in the Hilliard Division of Police detective bureau from 2012 to 2016. His duties included commanding the criminal investigations unit and special investigations unit.

He also was a finalist to be Reynoldsburg's police chief in 2012, losing out to Jim O'Neill, who he now will succeed.

Mayor Brad McCloud said Plesich's first day on the job will be March 26. His annual salary will be $116,000, plus benefits.

Plesich, 52, is an attorney licensed to practice in Ohio and U. S. District Court, Southern District. He earned his law degree from Capital University.

He and his wife, Kathleen, who is retired from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, have three grown children.

"I applied to the Reynoldsburg police department because of my respect for the city, the mayor and the agency," Plesich said. "As a Hilliard officer, I had several opportunities to interact with RPD. Several times, I sat on the RPD promotion board and I was always impressed with the quality of the candidates."

In Charleston, Plesich works with 358 other officers, while Reynoldsburg has only 54 full-time police officers.

"RPD appears to be a great fit for me," Plesich said. "I believe my time at a similar-sized agency in Hilliard, plus my recent experience at a large, busy agency, have prepared me for any challenges facing the Reynoldsburg police department."

McCloud chose him after a selection committee interviewed five finalists for the position. Plesich's management experience in Hilliard helped put him on top of the list, McCloud said.

"David was chosen for his leadership abilities, his communication skills and his dedication to the highest of law enforcement principles," McCloud said. "He also believes in being involved in the community and is a proponent of community policing.

"He will be a great and visible leader of the Reynoldsburg Division of Police," he said.

The four other candidates interviewed for the position were Reynoldsburg police Lt. William Early, who has been acting chief since O'Neill's retirement in October; Ronald Gray, Kimberly Nuesse and Jeffrey K. Scott.

"Community policing" means creating partnerships, Plesich said.

"We will focus on the two fundamental components of community policing -- communication and relationships," he said. "We want to be the most respected agency in the state."

He said officers in Reynoldsburg have "made it clear they desire to be part of a special organization, to be among the very best."

"That begins with working one-on-one with our citizens, listening to their concerns and providing professional police services," he said.

Plesich said a smaller police division allows opportunities for closer working relationships.

"One of the great things about working in a Columbus suburb is that the chief can get to know each employee personally, and I plan to do that," he said. "My goal will be to meet with each of our officers and civilian employees."

Answers to agency issues often are found within that agency, Plesich said.

"I am confident that our employees can provide me with insight and suggestions," he said. "Acting Chief Bill Early and the city staff have been terrific and have shown me great respect, grace and encouragement."

Plesich said he also wants to get to know members of the community.

"It should be the goal of any agency to increase public confidence and trust, so we will work on that constantly," he said. "I look forward to speaking with any community member who shares that goal."