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Fairlawn Police Department promotes five officers

4/24/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

In what Police Chief Kenneth Walsh called the “largest promotion in the history of the Fairlawn Police Department,” five police officers received promotions during the April 21 Fairlawn City Council meeting.

“We’ve never had this many before, but we’ve never really had this many openings before,” Walsh said. “We expected one, maybe two, people to leave last year, and all of the sudden we had four go. So we accelerated our hiring process, and we were very fortunate to find the people we did.”

Anthony Agoston, 43, was promoted from full-time police officer to police sergeant. Agoston, a native of Maple Heights, was hired as a part-time police officer by the Fairlawn Police Department in 1992, according to city officials. He was chosen as the department’s Police Officer of the Year in 2002, according to city officials.

“Tony is a hard-working, knowledgeable, dependable officer,” Walsh said. “I’m sure he will be nothing but a great sergeant.”

In addition, part-time police officers Brian Buskirk Jr., Matthew Conway, Marcus Fletcher and Russell Stouffer were promoted to full-time officers.

Buskirk Jr., 30, was hired as a part-time officer in July 2013, according to city officials. He previously was employed by the Geneva on the Lake, North Randall and Linndale police departments.

Conway, 27, was employed as a reserve police officer with the Brimfield Police Department for four years prior to being hired as a part-time police officer in Fairlawn in June 2013, according to city officials.

Fletcher, 26, worked as a deputy with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office for a short time before following in the footsteps of his father, Brent, and joining the Fairlawn Police Department, according to city officials. He was hired in June 2013 as a part-time officer.

Stouffer, 32, was employed as a union carpenter for 12 years prior to pursuing a career in law enforcement, according to city officials. He became a part-time officer with the Uniontown Police Department in 2011 and was hired as a part-time police officer in Fairlawn in January 2013.

Also during the meeting, Fairlawn Fire Chief Russ Hose said his department has received a new rating from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

“In 2013, the fire department was inspected by ISO,” he said. “This is an organization that comes every 10 years to rate your department and tell you how you’re doing. Insurance rates on your building are directly affected by how they grade [you].”

According to Hose, the Fairlawn Fire Department received a rating of “8” in 1982. At the department’s last inspection, in 2003, Fairlawn got a “4” rating.

“I’m happy to say that we got our newest results back about two weeks ago and we’ve been reduced to a ‘3,’ and the lower the better,” he said. “Just to give you an idea, in the entire nation, there are only 40 departments that have a ‘1.’ It’s almost impossible to get a ‘1,’ so your next two toughest spots are a ‘2’ and a ‘3,’ and I’m happy to say we are a ‘3.’ I’m tickled to death that we were able to get down to a ‘3,’ and the next goal will be a ‘2.’ Hopefully, we can do that in five years.”

The department expects to get rated every five years going forward, Hose said.

Council President Russ Sharnsky (at large) described the ISO process as a “measure of what you say you are doing on paper and what you are actually doing.”

“It’s impressive to be rated even lower than you were 10 years ago,” he told Hose.

In other business, Council heard the first reading of an ordinance approving a new contract between the city and the employees of the Fairlawn Service Department, retroactive to Jan. 1.

“We received a call from [the union’s negotiators] early in the week indicating that [the employees] wished to take another vote, which they did, and they accepted the city’s package,” Fairlawn Law Director Ed Riegler told the Council members. “The ordinance is before you for a first reading, and hopefully I will have a tentative document ready for you to review at the next committee meting.”

Terms of the new three-year deal, which would run through 2016, were not released.

The next Fairlawn City Council meeting is set for May 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is scheduled for April 28 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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