Friday, August 18th, 2017
St. Marys Police chief retires
By Ed Gebert
ST. MARYS - Police Chief Mark Ernst recently announced he will retire as of Sunday after 27 years with the St. Marys Police Department, serving the last 3 1/2 years as chief.
"It was really difficult," he told the newspaper about his decision. "I've been here a long time. I love my department, but I've had some things come up, some opportunities come up, and I thought it was time to start working toward that."
Ernst has been involved with Wright State University-Lake Campus for more than a decade, serving as commander of the police academy since 2010 and also teaching some criminal justice courses for the past two years.
"I've been teaching police academy since 2000, and I've truly enjoyed that, and I love sharing my knowledge and experience with the cadets, and now I've moved on to do that with college students. I thoroughly enjoy it. I hope to be able to do a lot more of that," he said.
Asked what were the highlights of his career with the St. Marys department, Ernst said, "I was one of the original members of the Grand Lake Drug Task Force, which is still in existence today. I spent eight years working narcotics, and I think that was really the best time of my career. I really enjoyed that."
In his letter announcing his retirement, Ernst expressed his love and appreciation for the people of the police department along with his thanks to the St. Marys community.
"While it is tradition to say good things about those you have worked with, I truly mean it when I say St. Marys is blessed to have such dedicated and caring dispatchers and police officers," he wrote. "Each one if these people share a passion to serve and each bring unique talents to the table when it comes to serving and protecting the citizens of St. Marys."
Ernst did admit, however, that his time as chief was not always easy.
"It's been kind of difficult. The city had a financial crisis just as soon as I became chief, and I had to struggle through some retirements of people that I couldn't replace and cutbacks, but I've got to say, my people weathered the storm and kept their morale up and we made our way through it and moved the department forward."