A Greenfield native with a long family history of law enforcement in the community has been named the village’s new police chief.
Jim Oyer, who had been serving as the acting chief since December of last year, was officially appointed as the chief Wednesday by Greenfield Village Council.
Council president Betty Jackman said the vote to hire Oyer was unanimous, except for councilman Chris Borreson, who abstained from the vote.
Oyer replaces Tim Hester, who served as chief for 11 years before retiring on Dec. 18 of last year.
“He’s done an excellent job since Tim left,” Jackman said. “He’s been on top of everything, the people like him, and he’s just a good person.”
Oyer will serve a six-month probationary period before he officially becomes chief.
A 1994 graduate of McClain High School, Oyer started as an auxiliary officer with the Greenfield Police Department in June of 1999. He was hired full-time a year or so later and became a sergeant in the mid 2000s.
“It feels pretty good,” Oyer said of his reaction to council’s vote. “I’ve had a lot of family in law enforcement and I kind of look at it as a family thing.”
He said his uncle Diz, cousin Nick, and his mother’s father, Pearl Gregg, were all Greenfield police officers, while his father, Jim, was an auxiliary Greenfield police officer.
“I hope I can make the department a better place for the employees, the town a safer place to live, and take some of the drugs off the street,” Oyer said Friday. “I hope to make Greenfield a safer place for everyone.”
Oyer’s hire comes after a long legal battle over the process of how to hire a new chief of police.
In past years, qualified officers took a Civil Service Commission examine to determine who would be the next chief. But in October of 2015, GPD Sgt. Gary Schraw filed a complaint about being excluded from a second round of testing for the position. Eventually, it was determined that since Greenfield is now a village rather than a city, the Civil Service Commission was not required to be involved in the process. Then in June of this year the village council decided to abolish the Greenfield Civil Service Commission. That opened the way for the village to select a chief of its choice.
The GPD is currently composed of the chief, three sergeants, six patrolmen and three dispatchers. Oyer said he doesn’t anticipate making a lot of changes.
“I plan on trying to get better equipment for the officers so they can do their jobs more efficiently,” Oyer said. “And I’d like to offer more training so they’ll be more prepared for all the challenges the world presents us in this day and age.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.