Hamilton assistant chief named interim police chief

Next Hamilton police chief will be chosen via civil service, which is a two-step process.

Trent Chenoweth was named the interim Hamilton police chief this month as Craig Bucheit left chief’s job to be the city manager.

Chenoweth was the choice based on the command structure of the Hamilton Police Department. Until last spring, the department had two police captains who served as assistant police chiefs, but when Capt. Marc McManus retired last year, Chenoweth became the lone assistant chief under Bucheit.

The native Hamiltonian has been with the Hamilton Police Department for 32 years, but he wanted to be a cop since he was 12 years old, when he was involved in Safety Patrol in elementary school.

“It all started with that,” he said. “I was captain of the Safety Patrol and then from there, I was done. It was all I ever wanted to do.”

Though the decision to name Chenoweth, who grew up in Lindenwald, was the natural decision given he was the highest-ranking officer under Buchiet, it’s not a guarantee he’ll be named the chief. He and five Hamilton police lieutenants will follow the same process taken when Bucheit became chief, a test Chenoweth is familiar with as he also took the chief of police civil service test. Bucheit slightly edged the now-acting chief out a decade ago.

“It’s ironic,” Chenoweth said. “He beat me by three points, or three questions. So, it’s kind of come full circle.”

Typically, the two captains, or assistant chiefs, would sit for the exam, but since there’s only one captain and it must be a competitive test, the lieutenants were invited to sit for the exam. The permanent chief isn’t expected to be named until July.

The written portion of the exam is set to take place on June 1, and the assessment center portion of the process is scheduled for June 29. Both are on Saturdays.

There’s a lot going on with the Hamilton Police Department, most notably the transition of moving into the new Justice Center across from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, likely this November.

“This is very much an agency in transition,” he said. “We’re moving buildings, we had this last-minute change that no one saw happening. There’s a whole lot coming at the department in a very short period of time.”

Though Chenoweth said the department is “very well-versed in dealing with change” and is prepared for it, change is always constant, and if he’s the next chief or someone else, embracing the opportunity.

“I’ve enjoyed the position of assistant chief for the last 10 years,” he said. “I appreciate having this opportunity, and I look forward to the challenge and just seeing where we can go.”

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