By Rick Palsgrove
There is a change at the top at the Groveport Police Department
Groveport Police Chief Ralph Portier will retire sooner than was recently announced. Mayor Lance Westcamp has named Groveport Police Sgt. Casey Adams as the department’s new police chief. Adams will be sworn in as police chief on April 28.
Saying goodbye to Portier
Portier will now retire, for health reasons, on April 28. Previously he had planned to retire in August. Portier began his service as police chief in Groveport in 2009.
“April 28 is my last day,” said Portier. “I need time with my family as my health issues continue.”
“It’s sad to see him leave,” said Westcamp of Portier. “It’s a tough job to replace a man like Ralph Portier. He’s a great communicator and he’s done an excellent job with community relations. As a result, the Groveport Police Department has an excellent rapport with the community. You could not ask for a better person than Ralph. ”
About the new police chief
In selecting Adams as the new police chief, Westcamp said he looked for someone with extensive training in police department operations, command structure, and organizational policies.
“Sgt. Adams has the background and training to handle the job,” said Westcamp, who said Adams attended the FBI Academy and has taken leadership classes. “He has been the second shift sergeant and the officers on that shift respect him and work well with him.”
Adams served as acting police chief last fall for several weeks while Portier was on medical leave.
“He did a good job as acting police chief last fall,” said Westcamp. “He provided well done reports, handled the day-to-day duties well, and has a good rapport with the community. He’s the best person for the job in this community. Groveport City Council is 100 percent supportive of this decision.”
Westcamp said it will be a smooth transition from Portier to Adams.
“Everything will be fine,” said Westcamp, who added that Adams’ promotion, coupled with the recent retirement of Sgt. Brian Thompson, has opened up two sergeant positions in the department. “It gives our officers an opportunity for advancement.”
Born in 1973, Adams has been a police officer since 1996 when he first served in the Pataskala Police Department. He served 11 months with the Madison Township Police Department in 2001 and began work with the Groveport Police Department in December 2001. He has been a sergeant for the past 13 years with the Groveport Police. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Ohio University.
Adams said he is excited to be named police chief and he wants the police to continue to be good ambassadors for the city. He embraces the concept of community policing, which includes officers interacting with community members, being visible around town, and providing educational outreach.
“It helps build trust in the community,” said Adams. “Plus, a good relationship between community members and the police helps us solve crimes. We’re here to help and protect.”
Adams said he wants to promote career growth in the department.
“I want to start training the next generation of leaders in our department,” said Adams, who noted some long-time officers are nearing retirement eligibility.
When asked about what crimes are most prevalent in Groveport these days, Adams said identity theft, unemployment fraud, domestic situations, and “typical thefts,” such as vehicle break-ins.
“These are crimes of opportunity,” said Adams. “They affect both residential and business areas. One preventative method of combatting these crimes is educating the citizens on how to protect themselves, particularly senior citizens.”
Adams thinks a potential for future crime growth in the city is work place violence in the large warehouse industrial parks.
“We can be proactive and work with the warehouse management to help prevent such issues from arising,” said Adams.
Adams is only the sixth police chief in the town’s history as prior to 1966 Groveport was served by a single town marshal. In 1966 Groveport created its own police department and its first chief was Al Whipple, who served until 1981. The other police chiefs were: Roger Adams from 1981 to 2001; Timothy Carney from 2002-03; Bary Murphy from 2003-06; Gary York from 2006-09; and Portier from 2009-21.