By Jeff Gallatin
North Olmsted Police Captain Mike Kilbane has hit the bulls eye on a long-term personal goal and is set to become the chief of police for the Independence City Police Department June 3.
Independence City Council is expected to meet in the next few days to formally confirm his appointment as the city’s new police chief. Kilbane, a 20-year-veteran of the North Olmsted Police Department who has been its captain since July 2011, said leaving the department is not easy.
“I will be leaving a great bunch of people in this department,” he said. “The entire staff is professional and does their jobs well. I have a lot of friends in the department and will miss seeing them. I’ll be working to make sure the transition to the next captain is as seamless and easy as possible for the department.”
A longtime training officer for North Olmsted department, who teaches criminal justice at Cuyahoga County Community College’s western campus and Strayer University online, Kilbane said the North Olmsted department long tradition of heavy training and education will help it handle the transition to a new captain.
“It’s always been the philosophy in this department to make sure that officers officers are trained and ready to take over your responsibility when it’s their time too,” he said.
He said his top memories of the North Olmsted force stem from one consistent theme.
“This department always responds well when there is a major problem,” he said. “Be it a major criminal incident like a murder or major robbery, or a safety incident like an accident or major storm. The people in it always rise to occasion and make sure the problem is handled in the best way possible for the public.”
Kilbane, who was one of 69 applicants for the Independence job, said the opportunity to become a police chief was too good to pass up.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to become the chief of a department,” he said. ‘I’ll be going to a good department and city. Independence is a good city and the administration and city council have good relationships with the safety departments and their community.”
Kilbane said Independence and North Olmsted have some similarities.
‘They’re both transportation hubs being located by major roadways with Independence being by I-77 and I-480, while North Olmsted is located near 480, the (Ohio) turnpike and I-90,” he said. “Both have strong business communities so it’s something I’m used to working with.”
North Olmsted administration officials praised Kilbane and his work.
“Mike’s a true professional,” Safety/Service Director Scott Thomas said. “He does his work well and it shows wherever he has contact with people, in the community, the department or other police agencies.”
Mayor Kevin Kennedy said Kilbane is an asset to North Olmsted and any community he works in.
“He will be missed,” Kennedy said.
Law Director Michael Gareau Jr. said working with Kilbane was a pleasure.
“He is a how you want a police officer to be and he always was working toward getting justice,” Gareau said.
North Olmsted Police Chief Jamie Gallagher said he’s pleased for Kilbane, but sorry to be losing him from the department.
‘Mike’s a fine officer and he’ll make a great chief of police,” Gallagher said. “When he joined our department 20 years ago, his first assignment was as a patrolman on the shift I commanded as lieutenant. He’s always been willing to take the initiative and do what’s best for the department, whether it’s been as a patrolman, sergeant, lieutenant and most recently, captain. I’m sorry we’re losing an officer of his caliber, but this is something he has wanted to do and I understand that and support him.”
Gallagher said Kilbane has been an excellent captain and a pleasure to work with as a chief.
“He’s good with the rest of the department and the city as a whole,” Gallagher said. “People always respect him and his work. I’m sure that will continue.”