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Buckeye Lake Police chief is retiring

BUCKEYE LAKE – Buckeye Lake Police Chief Ron Small will retire March 29.

Mayor Richard Baker announced Small’s retirement and thanked him for his service at Monday night’s council meeting. Baker then appointed Buckeye Lake Police Capt. James Hanzey to replace Small.

“We definitely appreciate everything you’ve done for the village,” said council president Charlene Hayden.

“It’s been interesting, it really has,” Small told The Beacon Wednesday. His last day on duty will be March 28. Small worked full-time for the Buckeye Lake Police Department for 20 years, and five years as a reserve officer. “I’ll really miss it, but it’s time,” he said. “There are a lot of good people out here. It’s come a long way.”

Small said officer Andy Davis will take over Hanzey’s former position, but as a sergeant. “He’s done a good job,” said Small. “He’s made a lot of arrests.” He said the department will have two full-time officers, three part-time, and several auxiliaries.

Baker said Tuesday that he didn’t advertise the police chief’s position because he didn’t believe he could find anyone more appropriate than Hanzey. “I can’t think of anyone better suited,” he said. Baker said he couldn’t think of anyone who knows the community better or who has the village more at heart. “He’s a motivated guy,” said Baker, adding that he expects Hanzey, as chief, would actively pursue more funding for the police department and Baker anticipates more proactive enforcement.

Hanzey will be sworn into the chief’s position at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 29, at the village office. He said Wednesday that he wants the department to be more proactive and remind people not leave doors open or unlocked at night or when away from home, and not to do other things that invite prowlers. “A little bit of preventative maintenance goes a long way,” said Hanzey. He said he also intends to concentrate on controlling illegal drug use in the village. “We’ll be hitting the drug (violators) hard,” said Hanzey.

He’s been with the department 28 years, 24 as a paid officer and four as an auxiliary. “Ron’s really been a good boss to work for,” said Hanzey who worked with Small for 25 years. “I’m excited to start,” he said. “It’s been a long time.”

In other village news:

• Former council member Peggy Wells expressed her disappointment with the village’s very slow pace to improve EMS staffing, response times and management. “There’s still a lot of bad management,” she said.

Some part-time paid EMS personnel have not been properly trained, Wells said. One paid EMT was asked to work a shift even though he didn’t have a medical release to return to work.

She was particularly critical of a proposal to have a public meeting in May to discuss the village’s emergency services, and the possibility of contracting for services with another municipality, such as Hebron, or with a private contractor.

“I don’t know what it’s going to take for people to take this seriously,” said Wells. “A public meeting, really? You had a public meeting on Election Day.” In November, a five-mill, five year fire levy renewal was defeated by a 490-391 margin. “You’ve been fiddle-farting around long enough,” said Wells.

Wednesday, Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason said he would like to schedule a meeting April 8 with Buckeye Lake officials to discuss contracting with Hebron for EMS services, if Buckeye Lake officials are available that day. He added that to his knowledge an advisory committee appointed by Baker last September to evaluate the Buckeye Lake Fire Department – on which Mason is a member – has “not met for some time.”

• Hayden said the Buckeye Lake Region Chamber of Commerce held its first meeting of the year March 13 at the Flour Shop, near the Village Offices, with roughly 30 people in attendance. She said Buckeye Lake KOA owners Mike and Shirley Groseclose said the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers reserved the entire campground for the week of June 16 to 23 for the organization’s 45th annual reunion. “That means more than 1,600 people will be in Buckeye Lake during that time,” said Hayden. She said the Grosecloses are adding a sand volleyball court and gem mine to the campground.

• Hayden said the chamber’s Full Pool Breakfast is set for Friday, April 26. “The main topic for discussion for that meeting will be the dam project,” she said. “The director of ODNR and county politicians will be speaking about the project.”

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