Grove City has a new police chief.

Rick Butsko, a 26-year veteran of the department, was promoted to chief, effective July 27. He replaces Jeff Pearson, who retired July 27 after serving 26 years with the department, including his time as chief since February 2016.

Butsko was serving as lieutenant over the Field Services Subdivision before his promotion.

"It says a lot about the quality of our personnel that we were able to fill this position from within the department," Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage said.

Two other in-house candidates applied for the chief's position, Stage said.

Interviews were held with Brian Davidson, who serves as a lieutenant overseeing investigative services, and Jeff Lawless, a lieutenant overseeing support services, Stage said.

Butsko's salary as chief will be $124,000.

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Butsko began his career with the Grove City Division of Police in 1992.

"One of the things he brings to the chief position is a strong knowledge of the city, the community and the culture between the city government and law enforcement," Stage said.

Butsko is a Certified Law Enforcement Executive and holds a bachelor's degree in public safety management. He is pursuing a master's degree in criminal justice.

"Our division of police is comprised of a highly dedicated and organized team of law enforcement professionals who continually strive to provide the ultimate in service and safety," said Bill Vedra, the city's deputy administrator/safety director, in an announcement of Butsko's appointment. "Rick has continued to emerge as a leader in the division and I look forward to working with him in his new role as chief."

Butsko was appointed just before a vacation that started the week of July 30. He will take over as chief full time when he returns. A formal swearing-in ceremony is set Aug. 20 in council chambers.

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