SALINEVILLE - There was a palpable sense of sadness among council members and the public at Monday night's Village Council after the announcement was made that Police Chief Terry McElroy would be stepping down.
By all accounts McElroy's tenure as chief came at a tough time when the police department and the village were recovering from the indiscretion of members of the previous department.
"I really hate to see him go," said Councilman Tom Hays. "The police department has improved one thousand percent."
McElroy will end his tenure as chief on good terms with the village. Mayor Mary Smith said McElroy has accepted another job with Chesapeake and there are no hard feelings between village officials and the chief.
Reached later, McElroy confirmed his resignation was not a result of dissatisfaction with the village.
"There are other personal reasons for my announcement that has nothing to do with Salineville," said McElroy. He said that he is leaving solely for the opportunity at more gainful employment. "I am resigning due to having an opportunity to take another job with less responsibility."
When McElroy was appointed chief last March he had recently retired from a career with the Ohio Highway Patrol and was not really looking to get back into law enforcement. However, he was asked to take the position by village officials hoping his experience could help improve Salineville's police department, which at one point was down to a single officer.
"I was asked to come down to Salineville to get their department up and running with the creation of more accountability within the department," said McElroy.
All in attendance at Monday's meeting seemed to be in agreement that McElroy had brought a needed change in the culture of the department. McElroy acknowledged that although the department had improved significantly under his control, there was still work to be done.
"(The department) still has more work to be done with whoever is named to replace me by continuing on the same path," said McElroy.
McElroy also noted that to continue to run efficiently the department will need a levy on the ballot in May. Overall, the chief seemed grateful for the support of the village. "I appreciate the support of the village as a whole and hope for their continued support upon my departure," he said.
Council voted unanimously to accept with regret McElroy's resignation.
Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. today at Village Hall to announce an acting chief until a permanent replacement can be hired.