REORGANIZATION: PD to get four sergeants, split Oberlin into community policing zones


Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune Oberlin police chief Juan Torres recommends restructuring his department’s chain of command.


Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune Oberlin police chief Juan Torres recommends restructuring his department’s chain of command.

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Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune Oberlin police chief Juan Torres recommends restructuring his department’s chain of command.

The chain of command at the Oberlin police department will be restructured following a city council vote last Monday.

There was unanimous consent to the recommendation by new police chief Juan Torres, who was hired in July.

He asked for a system with one lieutenant and four sergeants, which would result in an annual estimated savings of $2,000 to $8,000 depending on how much overtime is worked.

Right now, there are two police lieutenants and three sergeants. Lt. Kevin Scalli retired in September, leaving the department with a vacancy. It’s since been filled with the promotion of former Sgt. Michael McCloskey, which in turn leaves on sergeant’s job open.

“I believe the sergeant is the most important position because of the small division,” Torres said. “I think four sergeants provides more to the city and the department.”

A fourth sergeant will provide better supervision on the day shift, when only Torres and McCloskey are on duty. Their jobs are are more administrative than operations-based.

Officers working the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift have a lot to do, overseeing the jail, transporting prisoners, and attending court dates.

In addition, Torres plans to divide the city into four geographical areas and assign a sergeant to each.

Those leaders will oversee a group of officers who will work to improve community relationships and crime prevention programs.

All officers will still be responsible to respond to the entire city, the chief said.

Once a new sergeant is hired, the Oberlin police will have a roster of 17, including 11 patrolmen.

Torres said he would like to someday reinstate the captain’s position, which has not been used in Oberlin for years.

“In an ideal world I would love to have a captain and lieutenant,” he said.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @ValUrbanik on Twitter.

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