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Police chief needs to be recertified as Ohio officer
Franklin Township Police Chief Jim Timko needs to be recertified as an Ohio police officer.
Timko began work as chief on Aug. 1, replacing Police Chief Mike Castle who retired in April 2010. Prior to being hired, Timko informed township officials he would need to be recertified.
According to Ted Hart, deputy director of media relations for Ohio Police Officer Training Academy (OPOTA), the Ohio Administrative Code requires anyone with a break in service in Ohio of four years or more to go through the 582-hour basic training course and take the state exam in order to be recertified.
“If, during that break of four years or more, the individual was employed out of state, they can apply for a prior equivalent training analysis and submit proof of the training received out of state,” Hart said.
Timko was able to apply his six years of law enforcement work in Florida, and after analysis by the OPOTA it was reported Timko would have to complete 232 hours in total to be recertified. While the number of hours was higher than anticipated, Franklin Township Trustee Chairman Timothy Guyton said this was something township officials were prepared to encounter.
“The public should know Chief Timko has been open with us from the beginning which includes his application, resume, assessment center, through to the interview,” said Guyton. “The trustees were fully aware he did not possess his OPOTA certification at the time of his interview. We fully understood his abilities would be limited to managing his department.”
Guyton added it was understood Timko must obtain his certification within his first year of employment and he has been on probationary status during this time period. The trustees expect he will take on the position of a “working chief” once recertified and be on the street in a police capacity as time allows or demands dictate.
“This was fully explained to him during his interview,” Guyton said.
According to Timko he will be taking classes at the Eastland Police Academy in Groveport, and he expects to have completed his required hours by the end of May. The tuition for these classes is coming out of his own pocket.
Timko said, while his current official activities are limited to administrative duties, he is putting in 40 to 60 hours a week. Since he assumed the job, Timko has upgraded the department’s police equipment and computers, added police cars, has been developing new programs, and has worked to further the training of his officers.
“Chief Timko has worked with the trustees to get equipment installed in our cruisers with needed computer programs to allow us to better serve the public,” Guyton said. “He has spent time reviewing procedures, contracts, rules and regulations, along with our equipment and vehicles. He is learning the police budget, what goes into our revenue stream and is monitoring expenses through his first year on the job.”
Background on the search for a chief
The trustees contracted in March 2010 with the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) to help in the search for a new police chief at a cost not to exceed $10,000.
According to Guyton, there were 11 applications for the police chief position which shrunk to six candidates after review by the OACP. The trustees selected Timko, offering him a five-year contract with wage increases being set aside for those five years.
Guyton said the trustees also discussed contracting out the entire police department and received a quote from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.
“The quote came in around what we paid to run our own department, so we kept status quo,” Guyton said.
Regarding the hiring process, Timko said, “The trustees did nothing wrong. What they did was what a modern government does in a search of a chief of police.”
In his application letter, Timko wrote, “I was law enforcement certified by OPOTA in Ohio for 29 years and also in the state of Florida for six years. I feel I should have no problem getting recertified in Ohio to serve with your department.”
Timko said he, and the township, realized he would have to complete a number of hours for recertification. However, OPOTA will only perform prior equivalent training analysis for individuals after they have already been appointed into position.
According to Timko, once he was appointed and then eligible for prior equivalent analysis for recertification he learned that, although he held an OPOTA certification for 29 years, all of those years had been evaporated due to his being inactive in Ohio for over four years.
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