WELLSVILLE - Since the death of Wellsville Police Chief Joe Scarabino on May 8, a great deal of speculation has centered upon who will next occupy the vacant seat inside the department.
Following an application period earlier this month, 17 application packets were received at village hall from interested candidates, with one rejected because it was received after the June 13 deadline.
According to Wellsville Mayor Susan Haugh, the chief's seat will remain empty until all members of council, who will vote on the appointment, have a chance to study the application materials related to the "top three" candidates she named last week.
Those three are Wellsville Police Lt. Ed Wilson, Wellsville Officer Mike Harty, and Stephen Klopfenstein, a sergeant with the Brunswick Hills Police Department in Medina County.
The three finalists each have more than 25 years of experience in police work and more than a decade as ranking officers, far surpassing the 10- and three-year minimum targets for each of the above requirements.
In fact, seven of the 16 candidates have 25 or more years of police experience; 13 of them have the required 10-plus years of experience. Five of the applicants have five or more years as ranking officers, with three of them holding rank for more than a decade. Four have served as chiefs or assistant chiefs of departments.
A high school diploma or G.E.D. and police academy training "or an equivalent combination of education and experience" is listed among the mandatory requirements, though several applicants have college degrees beyond such training programs. Five applicants have worked as academy instructors themselves. All have completed various continuing education courses ranging from dealing with suicide bombing and human trafficking situations, to riot control and methamphetamine lab response.
Among other statistics, six of the applicants have military experience, including one who served two combat tours in Iraq. Eight of the applicants list various official awards and commendations acquired during their police service, including each of the three finalists.
While a majority of the applicants are from within Ohio and five from the local area, seven are from out of state, hailing from as far away as Missouri, Mississippi, New York and New Jersey. This likely did not work in their favor, however, as a valid Ohio driver's license is another requirement for consideration.