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Thornville names new police chief

Thornville Mayor Beth Patrick administers the oath of officeto Police Chief Nick Garver Tuesday night. Beacon photo by Charles Prince.

Thornville Mayor Beth Patrick administers the oath of officeto Police Chief Nick Garver Tuesday night. Beacon photo by Charles Prince.

THORNVILLE – Thornville’s new full-time police chief has a familiar face. The village hired Nick Garver, who served as a full-time patrol officerunder former Police Chief Duane Moore from 2002 to 2006, when Garver accepted a position with the New Lexington Police Department.

Mayor Beth Patrick said Garver was the logical choice. “He’s done the job before. He knows the village and knows how to do the paperwork. He’s got a proven track record,” she said. Garver was among 12 candidates for the position.

Patrick said Garver will earn $27,040 per year and should start almost immediately.

“I’m glad to be back,” said Garver during a swearing in ceremony Tuesday night. When he takes over as chief, Garver will have fiveauxiliary officerson the Thornville police force. He’s hoping to increase that number to 10 to 12 auxiliaries and should begin presenting auxiliary candidates to the Thornville Village Council for its members’ approval soon. Garver plans to bring some formality to the department by having auxiliaries sign 16 hour per week contracts and attend monthly training sessions.

Tuesday night, Patrick reaffirmedthe oath of officefor Garver’s brother, Craig, who will serve as auxiliary police sergeant, and Mike Schankle, who will serve as auxiliary captain. Schankle has been interim police chief since Moore-along with his wife, Elaine, formerly auxiliary captain-resigned from the Thornville Police Department Dec. 31, 2007. Both served in their respective positions for 13 years.

Garver said Wednesday that he plans to attend council meetings and regularly update council members and the media about the department. He said there will definitely be more road coverage and nightly business checks (for locked doors, etc.). Garver’s goal is to have a proactive, community friendly department. Eventually, he’d like the department to have a web site.

Patrick explained previously that the village is hiring a fulltime chief without a new levy or dipping into the general fund to balance the police fund. The village can legally pull money from its water and sewer funds toward a full-time police chief because the chief will patrol the village’s water and sewer plant. The US Department of Homeland Security is encouraging municipalities to protect their utilities, making it possible for the village to use money from the water and sewer funds toward the police department.

Garver’s hire comes at the conclusion of a tumultuous period for the Thornville Police Department. In 2005, several of the village’s funds– including the general and police funds–were in debt for a total of $228,738.80. As of Jan. 1, all of the village’s funds are out of the red.

When New Lexington hired Garver, the future of Thornville’s police department was very much in question and the village government was scrambling for ways to ensure law enforcement in the village while solving its financial woes.

Patrick said previously that the residents wanted a full-time police chief and there are no plans to add more paid staff to the department in addition to Garver. She said auxiliaries are paid about $200 per year if they work at least 20 hours per month.

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