Wellington police chief Tim Barfield is starting off the new year with a $13,000 pay raise, approved in December by village council.
Barfield said he asked then-mayor Barbara O’Keefe for a raise before the election to “avoid playing politics” by asking for it afterward.
The chief will make $70,000 in 2016.
He said he’s upgraded the department and made it more professional. Some aspects of Wellington’s police department were “antiquated and outdated,” Barfield said. “We’ve had to undo some bad habits and make good improvements.”
After council approved the increase, O’Keefe said, “I think he deserved it. We are leaps and bounds from where we’ve been. He has a good department, the officers respect him, and he’s reorganizing the department.”
Barfield said he has increased training for officers, many of whom now take their training online, which is more convenient and less costly.
He still wants a professional flair with a small-town feel. “I want to have a police department that connects with citizens. I want to encourage (officers) to be out more, do business checks, get out of cars, and make sure people feel secure. Our goal here is to be very service-oriented. We want to be very much a part of the community. I want my guys to do their jobs but to be accessible to the public like the old-time perspective.”
For a time, Barfield had difficulty accessing recent police reports, especially when searching for multiple reports at once. Village council members and the Enterprise asked about the absence of reports, and they are now being provided on a weekly basis.
Looking ahead, Wellington will host the Lorain County Police Memorial on May 11. The annual event honors law enforcement from all over the county and memorializes officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Next summer, Wellington has committed four officers to participate in part of the security detail when the Republican National Convention comes to Cleveland, Barfield said. Their wages will be paid through Cleveland.
Catherine Gabe can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @ReporterGabe on Twitter.