Sandusky police chief selection to move forward

The person leading Sandusky’s police chief search said an ongoing investigation of his alleged biases and suspect choices won’t stop any future decisions he or his committee makes.
Andy Ouriel
Oct 11, 2012

City commissioner Pervis Brown Jr., in fact, recently assured community members he’ll pursue the best candidates for the top-cop position before an investigation —examining his ethical behavior — wraps up.

For months, Brown vowed to hire a new police chief by October. The committee plan called for the city’s next police chief to start sometime in November and replace retiring Sandusky police Chief Jim Lang on a full-time basis come January.

A five-member selection committee, captained by Brown, will select the top three choices and then pass along the names to city manager Nicole Ard. Ard will then select the next police chief based on the choices provided.

Naming a new chief, however, will likely come sometime after Halloween, delaying the timeline. Paperwork detailing how proficient the committee’s top five candidates are hasn’t been completed yet.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Thusday's Register.

The following are the candidates:

Richard Thomas, retired North Ridgeville police chief
• Retired, even though Sandusky’s charter states all police chief applicants must be “active, full-time law enforcement officer.”

Charlie Dennis, former Page, Ariz., police chief
• Laid off from force amid budget crunch.

Curtis Brame, North Chicago, Ill., lieutenant
• Filed a lawsuit after supervisors demoted him for revealing information to the city’s mayor about the police chief taking confiscated cars from drug arrests and personally using them or selling them.

Dennis Thrasher, former Gallatin police officer
• Allegedly falsified time sheets, used a cruiser for personal use and secretly recorded conversations with other officers.

John Orzech, Sandusky assistant police chief
• Currently serves as assistant Sandusky police chief.



Sit n Spin

They all have skeletons in their closet except for Orzech.....Hmmmmm I wonder who the Register endorses :)

T. A. Schwanger


Don't you think the City Charter should be followed especially when it spells out what must be done when selecting heads of Safety Service?

A good start in clearing this debacle is eliminating the candidates in the top five not meeting Charter requirements and move the next candidates in line up the list.

Then deal with Commish Brown's alleged mishandling the selection process


It is time to promote the only person of the 5 that meets the City Charter requirements. Assistant Police Chief John Orzech has shown his abilities and needs to be given the opportunity to work along side Chief Lang until his contract ends for a smooth transition.


I agree, keep it local..other candidates "laid-off police chief!!" retired (possibly double dipper), filed lawsuit and falsification...not the best qualities of a leader...give John Orzech the opportunity, plus he knows the city and the people, which are very important in police work.


Final selections are not looking good. Out of 50 applications and this is what we get? How did 25 application become 50? All the good chiefs are working. How sad that we can't get good talent. Orzech needs a lot of work, hardly any education background and no experience as Chief.


I can't believe these are the best candidates the committee could find. These candidates spell more problems, not solutions.


Why would any experienced police chief come to this town unless they have extra baggage? Orzech will be given the job and the "good old boy" network will continue.

Julie R.

Duh .... a lieutenant from Chicago filed a lawsuit after he was demoted for being a whistleblower and revealing information to the city mayor about some dirt-bag police chief taking confiscated cars from drug arrests and personally using them or selling them .... and some of you commenters don't think somebody with good ethics and morals like that is a good candidate?

No wonder the city of Sandusky is in the shape it's in!


I agree Julie. Telling only part of this man's story is totally unfair to him. Tell it all or don't tell it at all.


So the only dirt the register could muster on Mr. Thomas is that he is retired. Sounds like the type of Chief Sandusky needs. He has obviously been in law enforcement a long time. He has experience as a Chief. He is educated. Best of all he is not from Sandusky. He would bring in a new perspective with a pedigree to back it up.


The city immediately after taking applications gave Orzech the Lieutenant promotion knowing he needed the promotion to qualify for Chief, he certainly didn't have the educational background. Orzech meets the minimum requirements and the city needs more then minimum requirements.


My opinion is that the selection committee hasn't followed the city charter.


Based on what, DG? What part of the charter, verbatum, do you think they did not follow? I would like to hear your opinion on that. Interesting.


From Sandusky's Charter:

1. Any active full-time law enforcement officer with not less than ten (10) years of prior active full-time law enforcement service, and holding the permanent rank of Lieutenant or higher, as of the date of the application...

2. The Selection Board, on the basis of merit and fitness, shall determine the qualifications of each applicant...

I don't have the SR's pdf's that listed the 5 candidates' qualifications and I can't find them online; so I'm sorry I can't be more specific but if memory serves more than one wasn't active and several had issues that challenged the "merit and fitness" requirement in the charter.


Dennis Thrasher, not active for past 16 months, fired June 2011.
Richard Thomas, not active for past 21 months, retired January 2011.
Charlie Dennis, not active for past 6 months, laid off April 2012

That leaves two that are qualified candidates, one short of the required 3 candidates that need to be presented to Ms. Ard.


Ok 1.Darkhorse Orzech doesn't have experience as chief obviously because guess what? To get experience someone has to give you the chance to be chief. 2. With that aside education is great and all but what this city really needs is someone with some common sense who won't play political games and will take care of business, period the end.

Rationally Speaking

Definitions: Good Ole Boys Club. Looking for a job and having someone working in the union manufacturing plant and getting the job because of the recommendations of your relation or another union member. Never mind qualifications. Hmmmm! Good Ole Boy's Club?

Double Dipping: Working for a company and fulfilling the requirements to retire. Then working as a subcontractor or "Consultant" for the same company and getting paid an even higher wage. Or, working for another company and getting into their retirement or collecting social security and your pension. Double Dipping?

Qualifications: Learning the tasks of the job to make you a good productive employee. Not belittling anyone. When you have a job, you are to perform it to the best of your ability in order to keep the company running so you have a job. You learn to operate machinery or use manual tools to perform your job. Cops go to an academy to learn the basics of the job. They work all different shifts, weather and holidays. They carry a weapon on and off duty as they were hired to public the general public. They are under scrutiny from the public and media all the time. Sure education is helpful, but common sense in dealing with the people you serve is very important also. Don't rule out this factor. Some very rich respected people have only a high school education....

What say you?


Qualifications may BEGIN with common sense, but they have to be substantiated with an education. Some of that comes with learning the "ropes" of your job, but it also comes from "book learning" as well. Any good cop will tell you that their learning never stops. It comes from continuing their educations all the time: seminars; in-session training, etc. So it isn's just OJT that is the main factor of a good cop.

Common sense and on the job training will take you only so far in any job. The classes and training of a college educated officer COMBINED with his common sense is what makes a cop a LEADER.

That is what this town needs.

As far as the other two, this town has seen enough of the 'good ole boys" who scratch each other's backs because they can. Who let in cops who haven't a "lick' of sense because they are someones kid, brother or nephew. They bend the rules, but not break them. Who bruise the law but don't break it. That defines the "good ole boys".

As for double dipping. That is the guys who break the law because the law looks the other way, and says nothing. The corruption of using the system to your own advantage because you can, while others complain and DO nothing.


None of my favorite links to past Sandusky Register stories work. Darkhorse mentioned Orzech getting a promotion after applications were taken. Was Orzech on the first list of candidates that had a application deadline or on the second list?

I feel that Curtis Brame would be a good fit for Sandusky. He is black and comes from North Chicago which has a larger population than Sandusky and a larger black population than Sandusky. Brame is not afraid of the powers that be and will not go along with them.

Brame was also a finalist for the Columbus Ohio Police Chief position. He has a degree in criminal justice administration from Columbia College of Missouri. This is an accredited college.

For those who say that Columbia College of Missouri is a paper degree mill, look no further than Ohio State University that also offers online classes.



Centauri, Use Google. Paste the link into the Google search box and Google it. If you hover your cursor over the entry result you will see 2 faint arrows pointing to the right. Hover your cursor directly over the arrows and it will pop up an image of the page to the right. Move your cursor over the image and position it above the image on "Cached". Click on "Cached".


@DGMutley, Thanks for the information.


Rather than saving a link you can save the whole page in html format if you are using Chrome or Firefox by right clicking anywhere on the page and choosing "Save as...". Just save to a folder of your choice on your computer. When you want to retrieve it just double click on it and your browser will display it offline. This won't work using Internet Explorer.


I read every qualification listed on the paperwork when the people who wanted the job put in their names. There were some good people applying. Many of them had good qualifications but MOST of them were not currently working for one reason or another. I really wish I had kept that list.

Then came the "attack" by Cole and Poole, as I have said before, at the 11th hour. I see no reason to go any further with this until they (Cole and Poole) get their way and see this STUPID investigation finished. Truly.

While I agree that Mr. Brown has said he would have this done, it is not his word anyone is now holding him to. That isn't the point anymore.

If the two "complaintants" had not objected, I am sure he would have made his deadline with no problem. However, that point is moot. The council SHOULD have set a deadline for this investigation so it doesn't take forever and it is over quickly.

Why chose a chief if they have to start over? It will only cost more money anyway.

Stop and avoid more cost. Just hold off and wait. Tell this "investigator" he has exactly THREE weeks to cover his investigation. If he cannot find anything within that time, he won't find anything. It shouldn't take that long to find out what he wants to know. Then be done with it. If he finds something....start over, if not...continue.

Whatever the findings everyone will know and we can all get on with what we have to do.

But no chief should be picked until this investigation is done. I do know one thing for sure....limit this guy to the three or four weeks. If he can't find anything by that time at $150 per hour, he isn't going to find a THING and it is over with. I hope Ms Cole an Mr. Poole can live with that.


I tried to edit and correct a typo in my 7:59 comment. After editing, I was blocked by the SPAM filter. At least my original comment went through.


Why does it take two weeks or more to vet five people when in fact one of them is our very own employee, so we actually have four to vet.


because the testing is coming from elsewhere, not from here. Those results are coming from the testing they sent them to. We have no control over how long it takes for the testing results to come back if that is what you mean. The background checks and testing was done OUTSIDE of Sandusky. All FIVE had to go through it.


If as much time was spent checking on Commissioners prior to electing them as is spent on this Chief search, the middle of that table would look very different on Monday nights.


So would the one end


There aren't any requirements at all for being a commissioner other than the 3 year residency rule.


This is the BEST the search committee can come up with ?????

I think we should fire the search commitee and start over.