Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey has turned in his resignation.
Dickey’s last day on the job will be Feb. 26, 2018, which is also when City Council plans to formally hire a new police chief, the Journal-News has learned.
The first job postings went out to the Ohio Police Chief’s Association on Thursday.
“It’s bitter-sweet,” said City Manager Mark Wendling, who called Dickey a “transformative chief.”
“He’s really modernized the department, brought in accreditation, and he’s really transformed this department into one of the most respected in the region,” he said.
Dickey, who has been in law enforcement for 48 years, says it’s time for him to step down.
“It’s something that (my wife) Susan and I have been discussing for a long time, and it’s nothing more than it is the right decision at the right time,” Dickey said. “It’s just time to pass the baton.”
Over his tenure, Dickey led the department to achieve accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and oversaw the construction of Fairfield’s Justice Center more than a decade ago.
Accreditation is something that City Council wanted to see the police department achieved, said Mayor Steve Miller, who was a city councilman when Dickey was hired.
“That was something we as a council wanted at the time,” he said. “We wanted to become accredited.”
Accreditation provides the department with a set of standards similar, if not identical, to standards of other police departments, said Miller.
Dickey was hired in June 1999 following the resignation of former police chief Gary Rednour in November 1998. He was selected out of nearly 90 applicants, including then-acting chief Richard St. John.
Dickey, an Air Force veteran, was the Englewood police chief for the better part of a decade and was the police chief and village administrator in New Lebanon. He served as a deputy sheriff, corporal and detective over a 12-year career with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
“Mike’s been here a long time and I think he’s done a good job,” Miller said. “He came into a police department that was good and I think he made it better.”
Under his watch, Miller said Dickey has made some good hires over the years, and “he’s stacked the deck.”
“He’s got some people who should help the next chief,” he said.
Dickey said he has a “great respect and love” for law enforcement and being the chief in Fairfield — which he called “a great community” — has been “personally satisfying.”
“It’s been the best years of my life and I’ve been able to do something I’ve absolutely loved,” he said. “I didn’t have a day I didn’t look forward to going to work. From that perspective, it’s bitter-sweet.”
Wendling said candidates, likely by December, will go through an assessment and the top five will be interviewed. Interviews could happen after the first of the year.
Wendling said there is at least one viable internal candidate for the job, but declined to elaborate further.