November 21, 2014

Medina
Partly sunny
23°F

Brunswick Hills hires police chief

By Maria Kacik | The Gazette

BRUNSWICK HILLS TWP. — After more than seven months of being without a police chief, Brunswick Hills trustees made a motion Thursday night to hire a Cleveland police officer as their new chief.

Lt. Sharon MacKay will take the top position at the Brunswick Hills police department in the next two weeks. The 50-year-old Parma resident will make $65,000 annually.

“Brunswick Hills sounded like the type of community that I wanted to become involved with, to develop a relationship with. It’s a smaller community, more intimate,” MacKay said Friday. “And I was looking to take the next step in my professional career.”

MacKay may be the first female police chief in Medina County. “Brunswick Hills has two female officers and two female trustees. I don’t think (having a female chief) says anything. I think they’ve already gone past any gender issues,” she said.

MacKay “has a lot of experience. She met every qualification she needed,” said Trustee Mike Esber.

He said MacKay only had one write-up in her employee file at the Cleveland Division of Police: years ago when she forgot her uniform hat and MacKay wrote herself up. “That’s the kind of integrity this woman has,” Esber said.

MacKay has been with the CDP since 1981 and in that time has served in field operations and administrative positions. For the last year she has been the transition capital improvements coordinator.

She is also a certified police trainer for the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy in Richfield and is the school commander for the Cuyahoga Community College Basic Peace Officer Academy.

She said in Brunswick Hills she hopes to work with fellow officers, trustees, residents and surrounding communities “to develop our shared vision.”

“I like to build relationships, collaborative relationships. I think everything will develop from there,” she said.

The police department has been without a chief since December when trustees voted to fire then-Chief Robert Osiecki. In a hearing, the trustees found Osiecki violated police rules and regulations by behaving with “unbecoming conduct” during an Oct. 29 incident where he was reportedly drunk and fighting with his 20-year-old son at his home.

Osiecki served 25 days in jail earlier this year after he was convicted of using weapons while intoxicated, a violation that stemmed from a Nov. 20 incident in which he refused to leave his home while intoxicated and threatened to commit suicide with a firearm. A SWAT team was called in, and Osiecki surrendered peacefully five hours later.

Shortly after Osiecki’s firing, trustees held conversations to consider potentially disbanding their own department and contracting with the Brunswick Police Department or the Medina County Sheriff’s Office.

“We had looked at all kinds of different ways but we decided to stay with our police department,” Esber said.

Once that decision was made, the search for police chief began.

Trustee Kathleen Scheutzow, who was in charge of the search, said the township received 40 applications. A review board — consisting of three Medina County police chiefs, three residents and township clerk Lori Henry — evaluated the applications and chose the top three candidates.

The top three were applicants from outside the township’s police department. “There was no reason” the top contenders were not from within the department, Esber said. “It was just that the top candidates were not from our department.”

The trustees then interviewed the three and chose the new chief. Scheutzow said all three trustees had chosen MacKay as their favorite candidate. “But there were things to like about all three finalists,” she said.

Scheutzow said that as the top candidate, MacKay submitted to a background check, psychiatric evaluation and drug test.

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@ohio.net.