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December 27, 2011 9:05 am

EDITORIAL: New era brings opportunities

Written by Tessa Schweigert

As one career came to a close on Friday, another began. Tim Feathers retired as Powell’s police chief, and Roy Eckerdt, formerly a sergeant, took over.

Eckerdt now faces the challenge of building upon the department’s strengths and driving a fresh vision while guiding a young police force.

The expertise, leadership and experience of Eckerdt and his fellow seasoned officers will be vital to the police department after the past year’s turnover.

Two 20-year veterans of the department retired in 2011 — Dave Brown in May and Kevin Schmidt in October. Feathers is leaving with more than 30 years of experience.

Tragedy also left its mark: in July, Sgt. Mike Chretien, 38, was killed in an off-duty crash in Montana.

Another officer, Kirk Chapman, recently left the agency to rejoin his family out of state.

In total this year, the department added four new officers and currently has one recently promoted sergeant and two vacant positions.

It certainly has been a year of transition for the Powell Police Department, and with that comes new beginnings, too.

“It’s a new day at Powell PD,” Feathers said Friday.

Chief Eckerdt has the opportunity to lead the Powell police force in new directions. One of his main initiatives as the new chief should be to build stronger relationships with Powell residents.

Feathers has said the department’s relationship with the community needs “to be taken to the next level” And we agree.

In passing the baton to Eckerdt on Friday afternoon, Feathers called Eckerdt a skilled leader and a man of principle and wisdom.

As Chief Eckerdt takes over, we believe his years of experience in law enforcement and keen understanding of the Powell community will prove to be assets in his leadership of the department.

With Eckerdt beginning his career as chief, we also recognize outgoing Chief Feathers’ decades of service.

Though not without controversy at times, Feathers faithfully served the city of Powell for 30 years — the last 13 1/2 as chief. We appreciate his dedication to the citizens of Powell and the sacrifices his family made over the years.

We look forward to Chief Eckerdt continuing that tradition of service while leading the department into a new era.

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