After several months without a police chief, the St. Paris Village Council voted to hire a full-time chief during Monday’s regular council meeting.
Eric Smith of Bridgeport will earn a salary of $47,500 a year as defined by the village handbook.
There will also be a “Canine Care Allowance” of $6,235.32 a year.
Smith begins his duties on May 1, according to information from St. Paris Mayor Brenda Cook. A probation period will last until Nov. 1, at which time the mayor with the village’s safety committee will evaluate performance and recommend to council permanent appointment or dismissal.
The chief of police position reports to the mayor.
The motion to hire the chief was moved by council member Susan Prince at Monday’s meeting and seconded by council member Randy Smith. The hire was approved by a 5-0 vote. Council member Steve Lett was not at the meeting.
Smith graduated from the Eastern Ohio Law Enforcement Academy, Bethesda, Ohio in 1995. He has 25 years of law enforcement experience in eastern Ohio, including three years as police chief of the Bethesda Police Department.
He is an OPOTA (Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy) Certified Canine Handler and will be bringing his certified dual purpose (Narcotics and Apprehension/ Patrol) canine with him to the St. Paris Police Department.
Smith fills the gap left when former chief of police Erica Barga was terminated from her position in 2020. Barga currently has litigation pending against the village as a result of her termination.