West Jefferson seeks new police chief

(Posted Dec. 24, 2017)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

The village of West Jefferson is looking for a new police chief.

Former chief, Terry Ward, announced his retirement on Dec. 13, two weeks after he was placed on paid administrative leave. Mayor Ray Martin would not comment on why Ward was put on leave.

In his resignation letter, Ward stated, “It has been a privilege to be able to work with and establish relationships with our community and those businesses that rely on first responders.”

Ward gave “33 years of dedicated service to the department,” Martin said. He was named chief in 2012. He started his law enforcement career in the 1970s as an auxiliary officer in Columbus. He joined West Jefferson’s department in 1984.

As for finding Ward’s replacement, Martin said he will look in-house first. If he doesn’t find a suitable candidate there, he said he will go to outside sources.

Martin posted the job internally on the village’s website and circulated a memo among council members at council’s Dec. 18 meeting. The internal job posting remained on the village website through Dec. 22. The position pays $73,298.61 per year.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gary McNeal is acting police chief.

“We have two capable lieutenants,” Martin said. Besides McNeal, the other lieutenant on West Jefferson’s police force is Randy Sibbalds.

Martin indicated that he hopes to have a new chief in place by no later than mid-January.

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