Casey Adams follows father's footsteps as Groveport police chief

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Casey Adams, Groveport police chief

Casey Adams was a regular at the Groveport Police Department long before he was hired in 2001. 

He would often hang around the department when his father, Roger, served as the community’s police chief from 1981 to 2001. As a child, he liked to play the part of a police officer. 

“He would wear bits and pieces of an old uniform I had here at the time,” Roger Adams said. “He even made his brother play cops and robbers. He’d use the couch as a cruiser and put Andy on one of the cushions behind him like a prisoner.” 

Now 47 years old, Sgt. Casey Adams, like his father, will become Groveport’s police chief when he is sworn in later this month. 

Casey Adams sits on a Groveport police motorcycle as a 5-year-old when his father, Roger Adams, was chief.

Mayor Lance Westcamp selected Adams to succeed Ralph Portier, who will retire April 28 after serving as chief since 2009. 

Portier, 70, who was diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer in 2019, said complications related to the illness have limited his ability to serve the community and the 23 commissioned officers on the force. 

Adams served as acting chief last fall when Portier was on medical leave. 

“I looked inside the department because I knew we had officers with the qualifications to be chief,” Westcamp said. “I felt Sgt. Adams was the best qualified. He has the training, and during the two months he filled in as chief, he did an excellent job.” 

Westcamp, who was charged with hiring the new chief per the city charter, said his decision has the full support of City Council. 

Adams started his law-enforcement career in 1996 with the Pataskala Police Department. He served 11 months with Madison Township police before being hired by Groveport after his father retired. The city, at the time, had a nepotism rule. 

“I remember Mayor Westcamp asking me if I was ready to come home,” Adams said. 

Westcamp was impressed by Adams’ extensive training in police department operations, command structure and organizational policies. Adams attended the FBI’s Training Academy and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Ohio University. 

Like Portier, Adams wants to be visible in the community. 

“You need to have the community as a tool in your toolbox,” he said. “Community members are your eyes and ears. They are the ones who can help you solve crimes and prevent crimes.” 

He’s also very aware of “the wall” that’s been built between communities and law enforcement over the past year following the death of George Floyd and the ensuing unrest. 

Adams remembers his encounter with a youngster last year. 

“I was handing him a Dairy Queen coupon because he used the crosswalk and looked both ways, and he looked at me and said, ‘Are you going to shoot me?’” Adams recalled. “I don’t want our next generation believing that police officers are bad. We’re here to protect and serve, not scare people.” 

Adams will become Groveport’s sixth police chief. 

His father served the longest tenure, succeeding the city’s first chief, Al Whipple, who began his career in 1966 when Groveport created its own police force. 

“It’s absolutely beyond belief that he’s been able to accomplish the same goals and dreams that I’ve had,” Roger Adams said. 

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