By EILEEN MCCLORY
The Findlay Police Department has gone without a police captain for 20 months, since February 2017.
The captain is the second-in-command, reporting to the chief of police, John Dunbar.
The captain oversees all three lieutenants, as well as the department’s certification process, which is conducted by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA, Dunbar said.
The certification is a nationally recognized set of professional standards for police, Dunbar said.
Paul Schmelzer, Findlay’s safety director, said the certification keeps liability insurance costs for the city down.
“We do feel the position is necessary, and we want to fill it,” Schmelzer said of the captain’s job.
The department has gone without a captain, in part, because of a legal fight with the former captain, Sean Young.
After former Police Chief Greg Horne retired in January 2017, Young took over the department as acting chief.
Young was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 9, 2017, and was fired Sept. 29, 2017, following a Toledo Police Department investigation into domestic violence allegations against Young.
Dunbar served as acting chief between February and June last year, then officially took over the chief’s position in June 2017.
Due to a legal fight between the city and Young, the city was unable to fill the captain position, in case a judge ordered the city to reinstate Young to his former post, Schmelzer said.
The legal fight was settled in April, and Young is no longer on the force.
Since then, the city has begun the process of hiring a new police captain, who is likely to be named sometime this fall, Schmelzer said.
Because there isn’t a current captain, Dunbar and Lt. Ryan Doe have shared the captain’s responsibilities, Dunbar said.
Dunbar said he has used a lot of his own time to rewrite department policies, part of the captain’s job.
Dunbar said he takes it as a compliment if the public hasn’t noticed the lack of a captain. But it may show eventually, he said, if the vacancy isn’t filled.
“You can take on too much with a limited number of people,” he said.
The time period after Young was placed on administrative leave was “a very busy time for me,” Dunbar said. He was previously the special services lieutenant, and continued those duties while also serving as acting police chief.
The special services lieutenant oversees the dispatch center, police records and training, court officers, property officers and the crime prevention officer, according to the Findlay city website.
The current special services lieutenant is James Mathias.
There are two other lieutenants at the Findlay Police Department. Lt. Robert Ring oversees the detective division. Lt. Doe oversees the patrol division.
Schmelzer said Doe and Ring have taken a civil service exam to become the next captain. After the exams are scored, he said the city will conduct interviews and make a decision.
Next year, the department has to renew its CALEA certification. Dunbar said he wants a captain on staff before that happens.
The promotion process probably won’t end with the captain’s position, though. Schmelzer said one of the lieutenants will likely be promoted to captain, so that lieutenant position would need to be filled from the sergeants’ ranks.
An officer may then be promoted to sergeant, Schmelzer said.