The Worthington Division of Police’s new chief will be Robert Ware, who has served as police chief in Portsmouth for the past eight years, according to the city.

His hiring was announced Nov. 26. His appointment is effective Dec. 26, according to the city.

Ware said he is excited to join the Worthington Division of Police, and staff members have been enthusiastic and welcoming.

He said he wants to assure community members and city leaders he is committed to the high level of service that “residents have come to expect” from the division.

Ware said going forward, he plans to look for ways to build relationships between the division and the community, but he does not anticipate making significant changes initially.

“While I don’t expect to make any significant changes right away, I’ll be listening, learning and evaluating as I look for ways to enhance our efforts to serve the city,” he said.

Robert Buchanan, police chief for Monroe in southwest Ohio, was the other finalist.

Ware will replace Jerry Strait, who had been chief since replacing James Mosic in 2016 and retired at the end of August, according to city leaders. The department’s two lieutenants, Michael Holton and Stephen Mette, have served as acting chiefs in the interim.

City spokesperson Anne Brown said Ware’s starting annual salary rate will be $125,522, which was Strait’s final salary amount. But that rate could change in 2020 because Worthington City Council still must approve the 2020 budget in December, she said.

Brown said Ware’s benefits would range from $28,824 to $53,261 depending on his selections. She said this figure includes pension, health-insurance and life-insurance contributions.

“The position of police chief is very important to our organization and the Worthington community,” City Manager Matt Greeson said in a statement. “Chief Ware is a strong proponent of community policing and is dedicated to working with officers, residents and businesses to assure the safety of our community. He is a highly respected law-enforcement professional, with the right skills to lead the Worthington Division of Police into the future.”