McCafferty says goodbye as police chief | News, Sports, Jobs

Linda Harris CELEBRATION — Former Police Chief Bill McCafferty accepts a plaque celebrating his 33 years of service in Steubenville. McCaffery, who retired earlier this month, was sworn in as a patrolman in 1989, served as acting chief in 2001 and was sworn in as chief in 2003.

STEUBENVILLE — Twenty-one years was quite a long time, said former police chief Bill McCafferty.

McCafferty officially retired this month after 33 years on the municipal force, the last 21 in the chief’s office. His successor, Chief Ken Anderson, was sworn in Monday.

“I have been very blessed” said McCafferty, who graduated from Steubenville University in 1984 with a bachelor of science degree in accounting and business/management. “I’ve never lost an officer, I’ve never had an officer who had to take someone else’s life, and I’ve never had an officer seriously injured. I was very lucky for that.

McCafferty was sworn in as a patrolman in 1989, graduating from the state police academy the following year. He was promoted to sergeant in 1998 and captain in 1999. Then, in 2001 – four years after the city signed a consent decree to resolve a US Justice Department complaint that officers had engaged in a pattern excessive force, making false arrests, searches and seizures and more – he was appointed acting leader.

“I remember under the consent decree, all these out-of-town reporters came in and said, ‘You look so young to be chief.’ I was like, ‘You should have seen me 10 years ago, before this all started.

“But the consent decree was a game-changer for us, it actually brought us into modern times with computers, training, weapons. We’ve wanted body cams for years but could never afford them, body cams make complaints so much easier, that’s what it is – either it happened or it didn’t. It helped a lot.

He credits much of the credit to the efforts of four officers, “Captain. Locasio, Sergeant. Sullivan, Patrolman Sowers and Captain Walker,” he said. “We all worked together and got through it.”

As tumultuous as these times are, “I was the same as a leader as I was on patrol”, he said.

“I tried to get along with everyone, to treat everyone fairly – to treat them the way I wanted them to treat me,” he says, admitting that those years as acting chief were “Probably the most difficult moment (because) I didn’t know if we were going to come out (from under the consent decree) or not. But I had a lot of support from my wife and family and eventually became a chef with the DOJ’s blessing.

After two years in power, the “acting” was stripped of his title and in 2003 he was sworn in as chief. Two years later, in 2005, the city was released from the consent decree.

He said being a chef isn’t always easy.

“When you’re a patroller, all you have to do is take care of yourself” he said. “When you’re a sergeant, you only have to take care of your turn, when you’re a captain, you only have to take care of your turn. But once you’re chief, everyone is under your responsibility.You are subject to phone calls at all hours…The main thing is that I never meant to do anything that would embarrass our service and I don’t think I ever did. had to mature quickly, but it was a pleasure to serve the people of Steubenville and our department, so it was worth it.

He admits there have been many cases that have bothered him over the years, so much so that it’s hard to pick just one.

“The rape case was expensive because we were accused of hiding things and we weren’t hiding anything. From the start, I wanted to be sure that the investigation had been carried out correctly and it was. But he has his own legs, and that’s where it happened.

But he said the most frustrating part of the job “It was when there were murders, and I knew people knew who did it and they refused to come forward.”

“It’s always bothered me, people know who killed (someone) and they just don’t want to come forward,” he said. “All we need is a little to go on and we can solve crimes, but with nothing to go on it’s hard.”

He is a member of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the FBI National Academy Association and said one of the highlights of his 21-year tenure as chief was “have the opportunity to attend the FBI Academy” in 2015.

He returned to City Hall on Monday long enough to see Chief Anderson being sworn in and to offer his congratulations.

“I think (his) biggest challenge is going to be finding qualified people to (replace) the people who are leaving,” he said “A lot of people my age are going to leave in the next couple of years. There is going to be a huge turnover. I know the last four (civil service) tests when I was here, we had good people, but there wasn’t a big pool to choose from.

But that’s Anderson’s problem now. Retired McCafferty said he had no set plans.

“I know my dog ​​is going to be happy, I’m home all the time,” he said. “Other than that, scuba diving trips, just enjoying my life with my family.”

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