Jeff Spence no longer is Gahanna’s interim police chief.

An announcement was made about his selection as full-time police chief during a Gahanna City Council committee meeting tonight, July 23.

His new role is effective Tuesday, July 24.

Spence has served as interim chief since January, when Chief Dennis Murphy retired from the force. The city received 43 applications for the position, according to Niel Jurist, Gahanna’s public-information manager.

As interim chief, Spence has continued to engage the community through Coffee with a Cop, the city’s Joint Citizens Police Academy with New Albany, National Night Out and monthly civic-association meetings, Jurist said.

Spence began his career with the Gahanna Division of Police as an officer in 1992 and then was promoted to sergeant in 2000.

In 2002, he was promoted to lieutenant.

During his tenure, Spence has overseen both the detectives bureau and administrative bureau.

He completed Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, Executive Police Leadership and Management Program, in 2006 and became a Certified Law Enforcement Executive in 2018. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Franklin University.

Although the police-chief position no longer is a classified position, Jurist said, the city administration decided to engage the community in the final round of candidate interviews that included Chris Little, retired captain of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and Jeff Scott, police chief of Notre Dame College in Euclid.

Those who helped interview the candidates were members of area commissions and homeowners associations, members of the Gahanna Ministerial Association, fire chiefs, police officers and personnel, city staff and school leaders.

Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools Superintendent Steve Barrett said the interview process was outstanding, transparent and collaborative.

“I was on the interviewing team with the city leaders,” he said. “We were availed the opportunity to submit questions for the interview process.

“I am very happy for Jeff Spence who has worked tirelessly as the interim chief.”

Barrett said Spence cares deeply about the schools and community.

“Jeff is smart, collaborative and compassionate. He has supported our schools in extraordinary ways,” Barrett said

He said Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland and his team did a great job of creating a thorough and engaging process.

The search for a new deputy chief is slated to begin next week, according to Jurist.

For more on this story, including salary and other contract details, read the July 26 edition of ThisWeek Rocky Fork Enterprise.