An article in the December 29 edition of The Sunbury News announced that Heath Police Department Sergeant Norman Ream would be the Village of Sunbury’s top pick for Police Chief Pat Bennett’s replacement.
The village had contracted with the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) in August of last year to advertise the position and screen potential candidates. Members of Sunbury Village Council approved that process at a cost not to exceed $7,000 and included an assessment process by an OACP staff of trained law enforcement professionals.
Sergeant Ream was one of 16 candidates vetted by the OACP. There was a six-candidate short list, four were interviewed, three extensively, with two finalists.
Ream was publicly interviewed immediately preceding the Wednesday, December 21, Sunbury Village Council meeting. The following day, Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield said Sergeant Ream had been informed that he was the successful candidate.
Hatfield said there are procedural steps that need to be taken before Sunbury Village Council members officially approve Ream as Bennett’s replacement during their meeting January 18.
Everything was in place for a village council confirmation vote and swearing in ceremony – until last week, when Sergeant Ream withdrew from the process.
“Sergeant Ream did not supply a reason other than after further discussion with his family he chose to not move forward with the position any further,” Hatfield said on Sunday. “He sent an email, I believe on Wednesday evening, expressing his wish to withdraw from consideration.”
Hatfield did not say if the new selection process would begin with the original 16 candidates vetted by the OACP; the village’s first short list of six candidates; or candidates in order of preference as determined during the local interview stage.
“We will be reviewing all of the candidates and continuing the process,” Hatfield said on Sunday. “I’m confident we will be able to find the best candidate for the village of Sunbury. It may require some additional work and time, but we remain steadfast to find the right candidate.”
Hatfield also did not indicate if the village would seek additional services from the OACP to broaden the search and seek additional candidates.
With Bennett’s retirement scheduled for next month, and only one Sunbury Village Council meeting remaining in January, Hatfield did admit that the search of a new chief of the Sunbury Police Department would be on a fast track.
“I’m confidant the right person is out there,” Hatfield added.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.