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New chief enjoys role in Chesapeake

CHESAPEAKE — Dennis Gibson started out a new week with a new job. Or rather a promotion in the work he’s loved to do for the past 30 years.

On Monday, Gibson was named acting police chief for the Village of Chesapeake, taking over for Russell Bennett who took a retirement buyout from the village last week.

It was a promotion Gibson said he really never expected.

“It was something I was looking forward to in my career, but never thought it would happen,” Gibson said.

Gibson, who also works as a constable doing security for Lawrence County Common Pleas Court, joined the Chesapeake police in 1979 as an auxiliary officer.

He had a buddy who was in law enforcement and would, from time to time, ride along with him when he went on patrol. What Gibson saw, he liked, and believed he would find a satisfying career there.

That sent him to the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy in 1983 and 1984.

Four years ago, Gibson earned the rank of corporal.

Usually working evening turn, Gibson handles a gamut of duties from patrolling to investigating accidents to traffic control for his hometown of Chesapeake, which he calls a close-knit community.

“Everybody knows each other and takes care of each other,” Gibson said.

That’s one of the reasons Gibson is involved in a recent spearheading to bring the Neighborhood Watch program to the village. An orientation meeting was held last month and attracted a large number of interested people, Gibson said.

“With a Neighborhood Watch, they can watch the neighborhood on one end of town while we’re on the other,” he said.

Right now, the department has one full-time officer with three part-timers.

“We always like to add more people, but with budgetary problems (that’s not an immediate possibility),” Gibson said. “I would like to add auxiliary.”

Council appointed Gibson acting chief for up to six months and he will have to join the other applicants for the job, if he wants to seek it permanently.

“I haven’t applied. There is a good possibility I will,” he said. “ I want to see how it goes.”

As to the immediate future of the department Gibson wants to see an ongoing relationship between the force and the village.

“I see a brighter future in the village with more people involved,” he said.

“We want the village to give us input. I just want to get things moving around with everybody working together. I’m trying to serve the community.”