Randy Hill knew he wanted to get into law enforcement in the late 1980s. Seven months ago, he was named Genoa’s police chief and in that time has made himself at home. He has met many of the residents, increased officer training, and implemented more efficient departmental policies.
Mayor Mark Williams, who was initially impressed with Hill during the interviewing process said, “He turned the [police] department around. He brought experience to the department, he brought leadership and he got our officers into training.”
Working in Genoa has been slower paced and a nice change from his 13 years spent in Brookville, O., where he was appointed sergeant, Hill said, adding it’s a “terrific small town community with an at-home feel.
Although he describes his transition as pretty smooth, there was one adjustment that’s been difficult. As a divorced father, Hill is only able to see his son on the weekend. Despite the distance between them, Hill said he still spends a lot of time with his son and that they have a good relationship.
During his time in Genoa, Hill has brought the police station up to what he describes as “the 21st century and [made things run] smoother.”
The Dayton, O. native has implemented additional training for the officers and brought the station up to federal standards through the use of e-mail and other computerized and automated processes.
The chief is also making plans for increasing the staff by utilizing police academy graduates. They will be volunteer officers but can use the time to keep their accreditation current and expand their experience.
“He just wants to make Genoa a better place and a safer place to live,” said Williams. “I think he’s doing a great job. Some people may not be happy but you can’t please everyone when there’s change. We just have to work together to work through things.”
There have been some rough spots in his first months on the job.
Late last year, Eric Hise, owner of the Bharmacy, 621 Main Street, filed a lawsuit against the chief and mayor, the village, and officer Mark Steinman, alleging the police were harassing him and his business and causing him to lose customers. In March, Hise’s attorney filed for a voluntary dismissal of the case.
A recent undercover program to check on the possible sale of alcohol to minors in the village also caused a stir. According to Hill, five of seven establishments sold alcohol to a minor who was working in conjunction with the police.
Some residents have questioned whether the woman was actually a minor and claim witnesses saw her consume alcohol in two establishments when served. Later, about 30 residents attended a village meeting to voice their concerns about “…an overzealous chief of police and mayor” one man wrote in a letter to the editor published in The Press.
Hill has denied the woman consumed any alcohol.
Bike patrol planned
The chief is creating a bicycle patrol which he hopes to have in place before the village’s homecoming celebration. The two-day (May 29-30) event will also be a trial period for two electrical vehicles. If the trial goes well, the department may consider using them on a permanent basis in the future.
If the department opts to use them more there will be reduced mileage and fuel costs incurred by the department’s patrol cruisers, the chief said.