The city of Reynoldsburg has a new police administrator after creating the position of deputy chief and hiring Curtis Baker to fill it.
Baker, 44, comes to Reynoldsburg from New Albany, where he was hired as a police sergeant in April 2017. Before that, he was employed by the Hilliard Division of Police from 1999 until he left to take the job in New Albany.
He was scheduled to be sworn in Oct. 22, after ThisWeek's press deadline.
Baker's salary will be $114,000 annually, with a benefits package worth about $42,000, said Sandra Boller, Reynoldsburg's human-resources director.
Chief David Plesich said the city searched for a candidate with extensive experience in patrol and investigations and a commitment to improvement and education.
Baker was one of three finalists interviewed by a committee that included Plesich, Boller, Mayor Brad McCloud, City Attorney Jed Hood and retired Truro Township Fire Department chief Jerry Foltz, taking the place of former safety director James Mosic, who left Reynoldsburg in July to become safety director in Hilliard.
Boller said the city advertised the position with the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police but collected and assessed the resumes internally.
She said McCloud made the final choice from among the top three candidates. The other two were Jason Edward Simon, a captain with the Youngstown Police Department, and Jeff Lawless, a lieutenant with the Grove City Division of Police.
The community culture in Reynoldsburg was one of the things that drew him to apply for the post, Baker said.
"Reynoldsburg is a thriving community where police services are very important to the stability and growth of the city," he said. "It is important that our police department is an agency that people can trust and depend on in their time of need."
In addition, Baker worked with Plesich when both were employed by the Hilliard police department.
"I have worked under Chief Plesich for many years and have always had great respect for him," he said. "Throughout the (hiring) process, I was impressed with the officers I met and found we shared the same desire to provide the best in police services.
"In speaking with Mayor McCloud, I found him and his staff to be very supportive of the police department," he said.
Plesich said the deputy chief position was created after he began looking at the department's structure when he was hired seven months ago. He said he and Mosic "looked at the agency's structure to determine the best way to support the needs of the division going forward.
"We determined that RPD would benefit from a command structure that ensures a focused and consistent leadership team," Plesich said. "Deputy Chief Baker has extensive experience leading patrol and investigative units, including specialized teams."
Baker also is a licensed attorney, as is Plesich; both earned their law degrees from the Capital University Law School.
"He brings a vast knowledge of case law and exceptional networking skills to our agency," Plesich said. "His track record of setting high standards, motivating his employees and achieving results give me confidence that Mayor Brad McCloud has made an outstanding choice."
Baker earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from Eastern Michigan University and began his career with the Eastern Michigan University Police Department.
Besides the law degree from Capital, Baker has nearly completed studies for a master's degree in public administration from American Military University.