2007-04-21 / News

New police chief ready to start

By Scott Rawdon

BALTIMORE- Tony Caito, president of the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce and owner of RealLiving Farmers Reality & Auction Co., believes Baltimore business owners, including himself, are pleased with a full-time police chief coming to town. "We feel very good about it. He seems to already have a plan in his mind," he said.

Westerville Police Sergeant and Baltimore resident Michael Tussey takes over as full-time police chief on May 28. Current part-time Police Chief Brett Rogers will remain on the force as a part-time officerand current full-time officerBilly Putnam's position will not change.

"Knock on wood," said Caito, he hasn't experienced any incidents of crime, but other businesses and residents in the small FairfieldCounty community have. Tussey will be "a big plus" to Baltimore, said Caito.

Former Baltimore Village Council member Sherry Talbert, who owns the Rosewood Cafe, said she hasn't had any breakins or vandalism at her store, but she knows of several residents who experienced incidents of crime at their homes. "We've all been affected by the crime wave," she said. "We definitely need" more police protection. Talbert doubts the village's budget could support it, but she believes the village could use larger police force in addition to the full-time police chief.

Tussey is ready to hit the ground running May 28. First, the new chief said he needs to get into the position and speak to the citizens and the business people to see what they feel are the major crime issues facing them. Then, as a police agency, the Baltimore Police Department will need to develop a plan to address those problems. "Because of my background I have access to many resources that can be utilized," he said.

Tussey said the availability of law enforcement will be doubled when he takes office.Residents will see more rigid scheduling of part-time officersto fillany gaps in coverage. "Having lived here I must say that I have great respect for what (Rodgers) and his staff have been able to accomplish with somewhat limited resources," said Tussey. "This is the foundation that we are going to build on."

In regard to crime suppression, Tussey believes any crime problem needs to be addressed in two ways. First is education. Whether it's educating people as to the dangers of identity theft or educating parents and their children as to the curfew law, communication is key. Second is the fair and consistent enforcement of laws along with prudent decisions as to who will be reeducated and who will be placed into the judicial system. "With our close proximity to three major population centers, the threat of transient crime is a ever growing issue," said Tussey. "That is why my officersand I will be out in the community speaking to business leaders and members of the community." Who better, he said, to know when something doesn't appear right in their neighborhood than those who work or live there?

Previously, Baltimore Mayor Kalish said there are several reasons why an experienced police chief will benefit the village:

+ Establish accountability- The full time chief would devote primary attention to the business of operating the Baltimore Police Department, and firmly establish who is in charge and accountable for the actions of the department.

+ Improve communication, operational consistency, and service quality- The full time chief will monitor day-to-day operations of the department and take immediate action when necessary.

+ Establish a clear direction and vision for the police department- The ideal candidate will have several years of varied full-time law enforcement experience. The individual must have strong knowledge of all the common aspects of police operations, impeccable integrity, solid written and interpersonal communication skills, and the energy and willingness to overcome the challenges of building a professional operation within tight budget parameters.

Return to top