Sunbury’s police force took another step forward this week, naming Brad Hare chief of its police department for the second time this week. Hare has been officer-in-charge since Tim Miller’s departure in 2018 and has been a driving force, along with Mayor Kurt Karlovich, in reshaping the city’s police department.
The department has eight full-time officers on the force and expects to add at least one more next year. The plan is to be back up to the full complement of 12 officers within two years. Hare and Cpl. Travis Bremigen have offered some stability as new officers have joined the department over the past few months.
Having Hare as the clear No. 1 creates another level of accountability. Hare returns the job with a level of expectation that comes with more experience. During his first run as chief, Hare admitted he made mistakes when it came to investigations into his own department, saying he followed previous procedures, which were ineffective when it came to internal investigations.
“Anyone can Monday-morning quarterback but I was seven months on the job (as chief) and I was following how we have always done things here,” he said in early 2016.
Consider it a lesson learned. As chief, Hare gets to call the shots, as uncomfortable as those decisions may be for him, council and the department. The experience gained the first time must prove invaluable.
Clearly Hare, who will earn $77,000, has the support of the mayor and a department with plenty of new faces. Karlovich said he was impressed with the way Hare operated the department in the summer of 2018 when just four officers were on the beat.
“Chief Hare has the absolute backing of his department,” Karlovich said. “I believe Brad Hare has earned the opportunity to represent the city of Sunbury as our police chief. We work well together and I look forward to continuing to move the department forward.”
Not to be lost in the shuffle is the one negative vote, which came from Councilman Rick Reichner. For many constituents, unanimous votes can grow frustrating if there is no real dialogue or back-and-forth. That wasn’t the reason for Reichner’s “no” vote. He voted against the contract because he said he had not read the contract, an issue considering Mayor Karlovich said members of council were provided copies of the contract more than two weeks ago.
Sunbury is taking steps forward and having a council member out of the loop before hiring a police chief to oversee the city’s largest expense is frustrating and disappointing. It comes on the heels of council members not reading a report into police misconduct several years ago and then being blindsided by thousands of dollars in legal bills because a billing plan wasn’t in place and council members never asked.
As the city makes progress in areas, it seems stuck in others. Now is not the time to stifle forward momentum by resorting to previous practices. Instead, it’s time to help push.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher and top newsroom executives. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.