By Linda Dillman
Madison Township Police Chief Gary York is painting a new picture of law enforcement for township residents.
With an annual budget of more than $3.3 million, a staff of 20 and a coverage area of nearly 41 square miles with a growing population of 23,509, York had his work cut out for him when he started work on Feb. 1.
“The immediate challenge I faced was beginning the healing process for the officers and staff. I wanted to reassure them that I was here for them, and to move the department forward,” said York.
He felt the most important step was to gain the trust and respect of the officers and staff, and reassure them they were secure.
“The department had a history of disciplinary issues that had taken its toll on the staff, the union, the administration and the trustees,”said York. “In order to change the department, I needed to change its behavior.”
Since his appointment as chief, York increased patrol coverage to a minimum staffing level of two officers per shift and hired four new officers with two more positions to fill.
He created two new command positions—an administrative commander and a patrol commander – purchased outvest carriers, security holsters and weapon lights for officers and eliminated one full-time civilian maintenance position, one part-time civilian clerical position, and one part-time law enforcement position.
York selected a second in command, is addressing building maintenance issues and taking a close look at cost-cutting measure for services the police department uses, eliminated unnecessary expenditures from the budget and updated the department’s policy and procedure through Lexipol.
York also helped design a new patch for police uniforms and created a new look for the police department building with updated lettering.
“One project I was asked to look at—that was supported by the trustees—was to take a look at the department’s current police patch and come up with something that really labeled the department for the township and the communities we serve,” said York.
Three and a half months and multiple drafts later, after seeking input from board members and staff, a new police patch was unveiled in early July. Since its inception in 1972, the department has only had two other patches.
The original patch consisted of Cruiser—the Groveport Madison Schools mascot, an Indian chief for Canal Winchester and a covered bridge. The second patch had no attachment to the township and resembled a Columbus Police Department patch.
“Trustee (John) Pritchard really was the driving force behind the new patch and when I had hit a plateau for ideas for a new design, he suggested looking at where we started,” said York. “From that conversation came our new patch. To me, it’s important to remember our history, and where we came from as an agency. Equally important, was that our new patch was a reflection of the community that we served.”
York said the new patch accomplishes all of that.
“It reflects our past, the communities of Canal Winchester and Groveport and commemorates the year it all began. With newer images, brighter colors and retaining our past, the new patch embodies all that we are as an agency,” said York. “I’m proud of this patch and the legacy it reflects.”