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Thursday, April 24th, 2008

New chief chosen for Minster Police

By Margie Wuebker
MINSTER - Randolph "Randy" Houseworth will assume the duties of village police chief May 9 ending a lengthy search for a candidate to fill the post that has been vacant since Feb. 28
Houseworth, currently a sergeant with the New Bremen Police Department, received unanimous approval from Minster village councilors Wednesday night. The post comes with a $56,000 annual salary.
"This is the toughest decision I have had to make," Houseworth said as his wife, the former Jane Bruns of Minster, nodded in agreement. "I have learned a lot from New Bremen Police Chief Doug Harrod and I am looking forward to moving to the next level."
Houseworth, who was not among the job applicants, said he was approached by Minster Mayor Dennis Kitzmiller and Village Administrator Don Harrod regarding the position.
Harrod, who is the New Bremen police chief's brother, admitted the search took more time than expected.
"The search took a long time but we were looking for the right fit," he added. "Randy knows the community and has leadership qualities as second in command at New Bremen."
Other qualities cited were attitude, personality and a recognized ability to interact and deal with people.
Kitzmiller agreed, saying "We found the right man and everything worked out for the best."
Houseworth, who grew up in New Bremen, joined the police force there in 1978 as a part-time officer. He later moved to the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office serving as a deputy sheriff from 1979 to 1983. In 1984, he became an officer at the Oakwood Forensic Center before returning to New Bremen as a full-time officer in 1985. Promotion to the rank of sergeant came in 2001 upon the retirement of Sgt. Ron Tontrup.
He and his wife have three grown daughters and eight grandchildren. Married for 31 years, they initially lived in Minster and plan to return. Ironically, the couple's New Bremen home was up for sale at the time Houseworth was contacted.
Minster officials sought assistance from the Ohio Chief of Police Association after Don Bergman announced his intention to retire effective Dec. 31. Bergman, who served more than 30 years with the department, agreed to stay on during the search before finally leaving Feb. 28.
From 18 job applications received, the association pared the field to three finalists - Calvin Freeman, assistant Celina police chief; local officer Sgt. Shane Dellinger; and Sean Asbury of Riverside.
Freeman reportedly turned down the job offer when agreement could not be reached on compensation. Then Dellinger resigned for personal reasons effective March 21.
Harrod told The Daily Standard on March 26 the selection committee was taking another look at candidates in hopes of bringing a new chief on board within a month.
With that position now filled, efforts will focus on finding replacements for Dellinger as well as patrolman Doug Latimer, who left earlier this year due to disability. Auxiliary officers from other communities have come forward to help the three full-time officers and one auxiliary officer.
"It will be tough moving from patrol to administrative duties," Houseworth said. "Don Bergman has offered to help with the transition. I've known him and former chiefs Bill Poeppelman and Larry Mertz. This is a good community and I'm ready to get started."
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