The Hillsboro Police Department is preparing to appoint a new captain after longtime police officer Ron Priest informed the city he is retiring effective Aug. 27.
Sgt. Jeff Murphy will take over as captain from Priest at the end of August, Chief Todd Whited said Monday, and Officer Shawn Kelley will be promoted to sergeant following the resignation last week of Sgt. Casey Lengefeld.
Murphy was promoted to sergeant in April 2012, the same month that Kelley joined the force full-time after serving as a reserve officer. Murphy is a 25-year police veteran.
HPD will also be hiring a new officer, said Whited, in a position budgeted to begin the last half of this year. The Hillsboro Civil Service Commission will meet Tuesday evening to review new Civil Service Police Officer Test Scores and hear promotion recommendations.
Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Todd Wilkin said Monday that Priest has notified the city that he will retire effective Aug. 27. Priest was promoted to captain last November after serving as sergeant for 16 years previously. He has 26 years experience with HPD.
Lengefeld was promoted to sergeant at the time of Priest’s promotion to captain. But Lengefeld resigned from the department last week, said Wilkin.
In her letter of resignation, Lengefeld said that since being promoted to sergeant she had been subjected to a “hostile work environment and sexual harassment.” She said she had been demoted just a few days earlier without a valid reason.
However, she concluded her letter by saying she was “glad for the opportunity to make a difference in my community,” and for the experiences she has had. She apologized for “any inconveniences” her resignation might cause.
In a follow-up report requested by Wilkin, Whited said that while Lengefeld never filed formal complaints regarding the allegations made in her resignation letter, he had investigated her claims.
“We have taken many steps to solve the problems as Casey had brought them to our attention,” wrote Whited. “In all since December 2014 there have been 3 internal investigations performed in which Casey Lengefeld requested or was part of.”
Wilkin said Monday that recent civil service tests for new officers were administered before the city received notice of Priest’s retirement or Lengefeld’s resignation.
But when it comes to filling the captain’s job or promoting someone to sergeant, Wilkin said the tests administered last year for those positions are still valid and can be utilized to fill those spots.
The tests administered last year for captain and sergeant were based on four components, including an assessment center evaluation administered by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, a psychological exam, longevity, and education/experience.
The Hillsboro Civil Service Commission will meet 5 p.m. Tuesday at the City Building conference room, 130 N. High St.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.