A new chief of police for the Village of West Jefferson was publicly sworn in at 10:30 a.m. Monday in council chambers.
Richard (Rick) J. Hardy was introduced by mayor Ray Martin to a small crowd of villagers, including village council.
“I look forward to meeting all of the officers and people in the community,” Hardy said. “It’s all about the community … any way that law enforcement can benefit the community.”
Hardy replaces Lt. Gary McNeal, who was tapped to serve as the interim chief until a permanent figure was in place.
The village had been without someone serving permanently in the post since former chief, Terry Ward, was placed on paid leave on Nov. 28.
A committee of people were assembled to interview the candidates including Martin, councilman Doug Eakins, and retired state trooper, Lt. Jim Mendenhall. There were 12 resumes initially, but two candidates dropped out, leaving the committee to select from 10 applicants.
Hardy presented an impressive resume.
Very recently employed with the Grove City Division of Police, Hardy came out of a brief retirement before taking on the mantle of chief of police for the village — he retired last Friday after 27.5 years of service to the city.
Hardy’s most recent position with Grove City Division of Police was as Community Services Bureau Sergeant. Prior to that he had also served as Administrative Relief Sergeant and Investigative Bureau Supervisor.
Hardy obtained his Master of Science in Criminal Justice/Justice Administration from Tiffin University in 2016. He graduated magna cum laude when receiving his Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree, also from Tiffin University.
He also came well-recommended through letters by numerous people in the Grove City area.
And while it may have taken some time to fill the position, it must be remembered that the mayor was serious when he said, “I want to provide the best for the village because the best is what the village deserves.
“He is very analytical and very diplomatic,” Martin said. “I think people are going to like him.”
As for the new chief of police, he looks as his new post as a great honor and a great opportunity.
A ceremonial swearing in for the police chief will occur at the next village council meeting, Monday, March 19 at 7 p.m.
Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.
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