To the editor:
I am writing in response to the article that appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 26 Oberlin News-Tribune about three sergeants’ opposition to the Oberlin city manager’s choice of Clarence “Ryan” Warfield as the police chief of the Oberlin police department.
I serve as pastor for Ryan Warfield and his family. Ryan and his family have been active members of our congregation for the past 15 years. I and others encouraged him to apply for the position of police chief. Ryan, born and raised in Lorain, is a 24-year officer in the Elyria police department and has a stellar reputation in the Lorain County community. He is clearly committed to reaching out to all citizens of the Oberlin community to change the current limited relationship that I feel the OPD has with its community. Ryan and his family have previously lived in Oberlin. His wife, Vernita, and he are excited to move back to the Oberlin community and become active and involved members.
As I participated in some of the listening sessions that Rob Hilliard held throughout the spring, it was clear to me that the citizens of Oberlin wanted a more comprehensive approach and a new vision for community policing. It was also clear to me that many did not feel that the current ethos among some in the police department’s rank and file was appropriate for Oberlin’s future.
My feeling is that these sergeants are part of the problem that has entrenched the OPD and made it difficult for it to come to reflect the kind of change that many Oberlin residents are demanding in their police department. The OPD is here to serve its citizens and not to be a closed system unto itself.
My hope is that city manager Rob Hilliard stands by his conviction to swear in chief Clarence Ryan Warfield as chief of the Oberlin police department. I hope that Hilliard and the city council will stand with chief Warfield against unfair accusations and the seemingly recalcitrant officers within the OPD. We as a community will be the better for it.
A.G. Miller, Pastor
Oberlin House of The Lord Fellowship