West Jeff’s new police chief hails from Grove City


(Posted Feb. 22, 2018)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

The village of West Jefferson has chosen a police chief, however, he won’t take over for a few weeks yet.

Council unanimously approved the hiring of Richard J. Hardy to replace Terry Ward who retired after being placed on administrative leave in November.

Hardy, 53, submitted his retirement notice to the Grove City Police Department where he has spent his 27.5-year career. His retirement becomes effective in March when he will take over in West Jefferson. Meanwhile, Gary McNeal continues to serve as interim chief.

Hardy, who attended the Feb. 19 council meeting, said he looks forward to working with a small community and its police department.

Doug Eakins, who chairs council’s police committee, said the village interviewed 10 applicants then narrowed the field to four.

“This is a job of qualifications, not entitlement,” said Mayor Ray Martin. He indicated the department’s two lieutenants–McNeal and Randy Sibbalds–had applied for the position.

“I like Gary and Randy,” the mayor continued, “but they didn’t have the qualifications.”

Hardy joined the Grove City police force in September 1990. He served one year as a general investigator, 6.5 years as investigative bureau supervisor, and two years as administrative relief sergeant. Since the fall of 2009, he has been the community services bureau sergeant in the Support Services subdivision. He also served as Citizens Police Academy commander and worked closely with schools.

Hardy holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice administration from Tiffin University and has studied at Columbus State Community College and The Ohio State University.

He is a graduate of Northwestern University Center for Public Safety School of Police Staff and Command, is a graduate of Police Executive Leadership College, and is a certified crime prevention specialist.

The community will have several opportunities to meet the new chief, Martin said. The mayor is planning a meet-and-greet at the West Jefferson Community Center. Additionally, Hardy is scheduled to address the West Jefferson Community Association in April.

Council voted 5-1 to hire April L. Milstead as a full-time income tax clerk. Martin said making this a full-time position would be a better way to serve the community. Martin said Milstead was the only applicant with experience. Lori Cafagno voted “no” because she has ties to Milstead as a friend. Jen Warner did not cast a vote because of she has family ties to Milstead.

In other business, council unanimously approved an expedited Type II annexation of some 133 acres in Jefferson and Deer Creek townships to the village. This land is the National Road Golf Course.

An expedited Type II annexation is applied to land under 500 acres and the process cannot be stopped. Martin said no one has expressed opposition to the annexation request which was presented to the Madison County commissioners last September.

Council’s annual donation of $3,000 to the West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association was tabled at the request of council member Mike Conway who said he wants to talk with John Stanley who runs the association. This could be brought up again at council’s March 5 meeting.

Council also held a 30-minute executive session to discuss personnel matters.

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