By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Police Chief Jeff Pearson did not plan to leave his position just yet, but he was presented with an opportunity he could not refuse.
“I wasn’t looking, but this job just came available,” said Pearson.
Pearson announced that he would retire as Grove City police chief on July 27. He will then become a police training coordinator with the Hilliard Division of Police.
According to Pearson, this is an administrative, civilian support position that would allow him to work with the people and help train officers.
“I want to go back and do something I really enjoy,” said the chief. “Training is the part of the job I enjoy most.”
Pearson has been chief of police in Grove City for nearly three years. After Steven Robinette retired, Pearson was named interim chief in August of 2015. He was sworn-in as police chief in February 2016. Before coming to Grove City as an officer more than two decades ago, Pearson served in law enforcement roles with the U.S. Air Force and the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
“Chief Pearson served the city for 26 years as an exemplary officer, sergeant, captain and chief,” said Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage. “We will certainly miss his leadership.”
According to Assistant City Administrator and Safety Director William Vedra, Pearson made sure the Grove City Division of Police was in the lead when it came to law enforcement tactics and technology.
“He (Pearson) led recent efforts to reorganize the division including the creation of the Special Operations Bureau, a unit dedicated to addressing crimes involving narcotics and theft. Additional city services improved during his term as chief, including upgraded and expanding 911 communications technology and the addition of providing dispatching services for Prairie Township.”
Pearson said his new position in Hilliard will allow him more time for extracurricular activities.
“The job of police chief can be consuming at times,” said Pearson. “I’m not going from one pressure cooker to another.”
Despite the demands of the job, Pearson said working in Grove City has been an experience he will not forget.
“It’s been a great ride,” he said.
Pearson said he will miss his fellow Grove City law enforcement officers.
“The officers in this department have always shown exemplary dedication and professionalism,” said Pearson.
The city’s administration is finalizing a plan to find a new chief of police in Grove City.
Pearson’s advice to the individual who fills that role, “Always stay community focused.”