The new chief of the Salem Police Department will be announced this week, possibly by Thursday, after an outside agency grades the exams taken Tuesday night by three officers.
High score wins the top job currently held by Chief Bob Floor, who's retiring Feb. 1 after 30 years in law enforcement with the city.
Lt. Dave Casto, Sgt. J.T. Panezott and Sgt. John Scheets all signed up to take the Civil Service exam required for promotion to the position of police chief. All three started with the department in the same six-month period.
Panezott joined the department on July 19, 1989, Scheets joined on Sept. 15, 1989 and Casto joined on Jan. 16, 1990. Floor said all three are good officers who have served with successful careers.
"They're all solid. They're dependable," he said.
He's known all three during his career and put every one of them through their physical agility test when they became Salem Police officers. He said he's just as eager as everyone else to find out which one of them will succeed him.
He said they should know the answer within 48 hours of the test, which is different than when the Salem Civil Service Commission had the sergeants' exam earlier this year. The chief's test was made up by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and will be graded by one of their representatives.
He said nobody local was involved in compiling the questions and nobody local will be grading it.
"There's a whole different set of rules they have to follow for a chief's test," he said.
He wasn't sure how many questions the candidates would have to answer, but said they were multiple choice and covered topics from at least six different study books, dealing with local government, police investigation, Ohio Revised Code, and procedures.
The awarding of the promotion goes strictly by the score on the test.
"We use the written test to make sure there is no room for bias," he said.
Floor had to go through the process when he took a test to become chief, a position he's held since March 31, 2006. His career began as a part-time patrolman in the village of Lisbon before joining the SPD as a full-time patrolman on Jan. 3, 1983. He made sergeant on July 21, 1995 and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on May 26, 2001.
Once he knows who his successor will be, he'll start showing that person the fine details and teach him the legalities of the job.
Who was eligible to take the test was determined by rank, with all lieutenants getting the first chance to sign up. Since only one of three lieutenants signed up, the test had to be opened up to sergeants to keep it competitive.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org