By Jeff Gallatin
Longtime Bay Village police officer Mark Spaetzel joined the ranks of his new peers Friday when he was named chief of the department.
Mayor Debbie Sutherland announced her pick from three finalists shortly after she honored popular former Chief Fred Drenkhan (who was chief from January 1965 to March 1976) with a key to the city plus a certificate noting his birthday and service to the city. Many former officers, including other former chiefs, were present to mark the occasion as well as Spaetzel, Acting Chief Calvin Holliday and other current department members.
As mayor, Sutherland got to make her choice from three finalists to replace former Chief Dave Wright, who left the department earlier this year to head patrol officers in the Cleveland Clinic’s patrol division. Spaetzel, who has been the department’s detective bureau commander; Holliday, the department executive officer who became acting chief when Wright left the department; and Lt. John Kirchner, a shift commander, were the three finalists.
“In this case, it was good having a tough choice to make,” Sutherland said. “We had three excellent candidates who have all provided excellent service to this community and who will continue to in the future.”
Past and present officers congratulated Spaetzel on his selection as well as Holliday for his service as acting chief the past few months.
Afterward Spaetzel said he is focused on making sure the department remains strong.
“One of the good things is that I’m coming into a department that already does its job quite well,” he said. “We had three candidates, and any of the candidates could do a good job. My first priority is to make sure that continues and that we continue to take care of our community.”
Spaetzel said for the time being he will continue to work when he can with the detective bureau, but that ultimately, he will add another person to the bureau to join detectives Jay Elish and Kevin Krolkosky.
“It’s a good group,” he said. “We’ve worked together as a team for 12 years.”
Spaetzel said he will continue to move forward with plans for reorganizing the department.
“It’s being designed to streamline how we do things and put more officers on the street,” he said. “We know the budget times we work in, so we’re going to continue to do the best we can with the resources that are available.”
Spaetzel also wants to make sure the department maintains a strong working relationship with the city schools, as well as making sure there are good lines of communication between the public and the department.
He said the department will also be better when it gets one officer back from training and fills the one current open position.
“It will give us more flexibility as a department to get those officers in here,” he said.
Spaetzel joined the department in 1985. He became a sergeant in 1993 and a lieutenant in 1999. He also is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Police Academy.
Referring to his selection as chief, he said he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I just want to justify the confidence other people have shown in me with this,” he said. “I have a few years to go, but this is a good way to end the career and hopefully continue to do some good things for the city and the department.”