Oregon names new police chief

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Oregon Police Sgt. Brandon Begin was named the new police chief at a city council meeting on Monday. His appointment becomes effective on Jan. 3.
        He will fill the vacancy of Police Chief Mike Navarre, who was recently elected Lucas County Sheriff.
         Begin was one of four in-house candidates interviewed by Mayor Mike Seferian and City Administrator Mike Beazley for the position.
        Seferian recalled the process of hiring Navarre in November of 2011. Navarre was the former police chief of Toledo.
        “One of the rationales of hiring Navarre was what he brought here – the experience and leadership he had developed in the City of Toledo,” said Seferian. “We believed it would be an ongoing training session for all of our employees in the Oregon Police Division to serve under the leadership of Navarre.”
        That training would prepare officers in the Division to strengthen their skills and be ready to become chief in the future, he added.
        “I’m not faulting our previous police chiefs, but they didn’t have that type of leadership skills where we could learn. So we had ongoing schooling going on for the past nine years. It was always our desire that we could develop quality individuals who could become chief. That was our goal. And I think we accomplished that goal. We had very qualified candidates apply. And out of that, we thought there was an individual who rose to the occasion with the personality that we believe was what we wanted to instill in today’s world in the Oregon Police Division. And that individual is Brandon Begin. I’m very pleased to be making this appointment.”
        Navarre said the police division has high quality individuals who move up into leadership roles and eventually become chiefs of police “either here or somewhere else.”
        “We have a lot going for our police division. It’s very well supported by the community, city council, the mayor and administrator,” said Navarre. “The simplest way to put it is it’s a good place to work.”
        Begin, 37, was hired in the Oregon police division in February, 2008. He was promoted to sergeant in June, 2017. He is currently a midnight shift road patrol supervisor.
        Navarre said he was impressed by Begin when he applied for the rank of sergeant.
        “I didn’t know Begin that well. We had interviewed several candidates. When Brandon came in, he simply blew us away during the interview. I looked at (Assistant Chief) Paul Magdich, who was in the interview and asked, `Where did this guy come from?’ We were just very impressed. He was promoted to sergeant. He has done an exemplary job in that rank. He continues to improve himself and his leadership skills. What he lacks in experience he more than makes up in other management skills, which are necessary to succeed. I don’t think he’ll be bashful about seeking assistance.  I think he has the type of personality that he will enlist the aid of others around him to make the division continue to grow and be what I consider to be a destination of all police departments in Northwest Ohio. We just hired someone this morning from Rossford. It says a lot about the division. Brandon is going to be a very, very strong leader.”
        Beazley said he was impressed by the division’s strong interest to take on leadership roles.
        “We’ve been blessed with an outstanding police division – outstanding officers, outstanding leadership, outstanding command and patrol. There’s never any job that’s perfect. But people want to be here, want to be in this job. And we have several people who applied who could have done this work. That was exciting to us. It’s good for Oregon, good for our future,” he said.
        Beazley said it was a challenge to decide whether to hire within or outside the division.
        “There’s some outstanding candidates out there floating in the world who can do the job as well. The mayor and I felt that this is the time to stay inside. We prepared for it. We thought it was good for the division, the right thing to do. There’s times when we think maybe it’s not right to stay inside and you look outside for somebody. Whether it’s to run a particular department or the wastewater treatment plant. Sometimes it’s time to get some fresh eyes in here that is in the best interests of the community. We really felt going through this process that the right thing was to stay inside with strong candidates. I feel good about where we ended up,” he said.
        Law Director Melissa Purpurra said Begin is a team player.
        “I look forward to working with Brandon as chief.  I had the opportunity to work with him for the last six years. As other people have stated, he does possess leadership qualities. He also possesses those core values that stand under the Oregon police division. From the patrolmen to the sergeants to his chief position, you’re going to see teamwork. He strives to have people work with him – to lead with him. This isn’t going to be a one man job. That’s not how Brandon works. He works as a team. And those are the qualities of being a leader.”
        Councilman James Seaman said Begin was “the right person at the right time.”
        “Our police departments are adapting now. He is the one who will help us adapt and meet the needs of our community. He has a really interesting experience working in mental health for the state of Ohio. And I think that is going to be advantageous for our community and rest of our police officers,” he said.
        Council unanimously voted in favor of the appointment.
        “It’s a dream of mine to be out here,” Begin said to council. “We do good things. Like Chief Navarre said, we are a destination police department. We are one of the best in the area. I want to continue on the path that he’s provided to us. I’m going to keep this department in the same direction it is going. I appreciate this opportunity. “


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