June 26, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Chief’s probation period extended

MEDINA — At Mayor Dennis Hanwell’s request, the Civil Service Commission unanimously voted to extend Police Chief Patrick Berarducci’s probation period Wednesday.

Hired in August to replace Hanwell, who served as Medina’s police chief for 13 years before running for mayor, Berarducci’s probation period was scheduled to end in February but was extended to May 15.

“I did not see an issue or concern with his performance,” Hanwell said Wednesday. “The (extension) request is not a reflection of him not doing the job; it’s because of my limited time with him, having just taken over in January.

“I wanted more time to work with him and mentor and assess.

Hanwell said the commission could not extend Berarducci’s probation period without Berarducci’s consent, which Hanwell said Berarducci gave.

“I’m OK with it,” Berarducci said Wednesday. “I recognize the need to learn the system here and give the mayor the opportunity to see what I can do here.

“I’ve been evaluated for 36 years on the local and federal levels and I’ve never had an issue, and I don’t anticipate one here,” he said.

Berarducci said Hanwell asked him to join him in the request for the extension because “he wanted more time to evaluate me and, quite honestly, I welcome the opportunity.”

Hanwell said the decision to extend the probation period ultimately would benefit the chief and, by extension, the community.

“I think that it’s beneficial to the department,” Hanwell said. “It’s not a matter of me not having confidence in him. It’s just a matter of working with him to make him the best fit for the department and the best chief he can be.”

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@ohio.net.