By MORGAN MANNS
FOR THE COURIER
FOSTORIA — After a nearly two-year hiatus, Fostoria Police Department has a new top cop.
Fostoria Fire Chief Keith Loreno was named the new chief of police during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
Mayor Eric Keckler said the decision to appoint Loreno, who has served as the city’s fire chief since 2010, was unanimous among the council members and the selection committee.
“The committee had a pretty strong feeling that (Loreno) would do a good job and he was a good choice,” Keckler said. “We know the leadership style that (Loreno) has and the kind of unique opportunity where our fire chief also has very strong police background and credentials. Knowing what he brought to the table, we thought that was a good next step for our Police Department.”
The search for the new chief of police began after former Police Chief John McGuire retired in December. McGuire had been on medical leave since July 2012.
Loreno said his decision was not an easy one, adding that he didn’t want the members of the Fire Department to feel he was abandoning them.
“I in no way want to give the impression that there is any issue in the fire division,” he said. “This was a personal decision. I had a lot of internal discussion with myself and my family. I wanted to do what would be the best decision for us.”
His background in both police and fire services includes serving as sergeant at Sycamore Police Department; reserve patrolman at Perry Township Police District in Dublin; assistant chief and arson investigator for the State Fire Marshal in Reynoldsburg; and EMS/fire prevention officer at Ohio State University.
Fostoria Police Capt. Patrick Brooks, who has served as the interim head of the Police Department since McGuire went on leave, and Seneca County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Donald Joseph of Tiffin were the other finalists for the job.
“There wasn’t anything wrong with the other candidates,” Keckler said. “(Brooks) stepped right up to help us out when we needed the help and we can’t thank him enough for all he’s done in the interim.”
“I’m anxious. It’s a lot of responsibility, just like the fire station,” Loreno said. “When you’re responsible for people there are high expectations and I have high expectations for all the police officers and I have high expectations for myself.”
Loreno’s annual income as fire chief was roughly $69,742. The city pays the police chief $71,240 annually.
Loreno will continue as fire chief until the next City Council meeting on May 6, when he is expected to be sworn in as police chief, according to Keckler.
According to the Fostoria city charter, the mayor will select the next fire chief. Keckler said his selection committee will consist of himself, Safety Service Director Allyson Murray, one council member, a member of Fostoria Civil Service Commission, a firefighter and a member of the public not associated with the city.