Berea Names New Police Chief

Berea - Sgt. Dan Clark, a 20-year veteran of the Berea Police Department, has been named police chief, Mayor Cyril Kleem announced today.

Clark, 42, joined the department in 1999 and was promoted to sergeant in 2015. He currently heads up the Community Engagement Unit and was instrumental in restarting the bicycle patrol unit earlier this year.

“Dan has a lot of energy and fresh ideas,” Mayor Kleem said. “Most importantly, he has Berea in his heart. That’s obvious from his work with the Community Engagement Unit.”

Three sergeants had applied for the police chief’s position after former Chief Joe Grecol retired in July. The three underwent assessment testing with the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and then were interviewed by a six-member citizen panel. The Mayor and Law/Safety Director Barbara Jones also interviewed the candidates in depth with Mayor Kleem making the final selection.

“Dan has shown a commitment to the community throughout his career,” said Law/Safety Director Barbara Jones. “The mayor and I are sure he’ll lead the department well into the future.”

Clark grew up in Lakewood and graduated from Lakewood High School. His father was a Lakewood police officer. Clark went on to study criminal justice at Kent State University and later attended the Ohio Peace Officers Academy in Cleveland Heights. Before joining the Berea Police Department, he was a basic patrol officer with the Cleveland Heights Police Department.

With the Berea Department, Clark has been a field training officer and the patrol officer in charge of the night shift. He worked closely with auxiliary police officers and with the new Veterans Security Team.

In his spare time, Clark enjoys running and previously was a coach with the Berea Baseball Association. Earlier this year, he organized a sports equipment collection for youngsters who otherwise might not be able to take part in various sports.

Clark called the appointment as police chief “incredibly humbling.”

“I am so honored and I am very excited by the prospect of what’s in the future for the City and the Department.”

He said he would spend the first weeks on the new job learning and evaluating. “We’ll see if there is perhaps a better way of doing things,” he said. A priority will be naming an officer to lead the Community Engagement Unit. “We want to continue the good work of the CEU,” he said.

Clark, his wife and three children live in Avon. Former longtime residents of Berea, they are members of St. Mary Catholic Church in Berea.

Clark will be sworn into office on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at the Pavilion at Coe Lake. In the meantime, Lt. Joe Hedinger will continue as interim police chief.

Photos courtesy of The Berea Police Department / Ken Robinson - WTAM 1100

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