GALENA — Genoa Township Chief of Police Steve Gammill said he will retire on Dec. 15.
In an email to The Gazette that was also posted to Facebook earlier this month, Gammill said he has spent 10 years as Genoa’s police chief, and prior to that, served 34 years with the Columbus Division of Police (including as deputy chief) and was an Army veteran.
“Forty-four years as a cop has been a great run and I would do it all over again!” Gammill wrote. “Being a police officer today is so much more difficult than when I started in 1979 with a six-shot .38 pistol, twelve extra rounds, a night stick and mace. Shootings and homicides happened so much less often than today. Most officers didn’t wear a bullet proof vest. We had six radio channels and no computers.
“Now officers are carrying a small arsenal to be able to respond to the level of violence in society and wouldn’t think of leaving the station without their vest, helmet and “go bag” to be able to respond to potential active shooters,” Gammill continued. “Computers, cameras, and dozens of radio channels are good tools, but add to the level of complexity on the job.”
While the equipment has changed over the years, the township has long backed the department in terms of levies, including a bond levy in 2020 to build a new police station in Galena.
“When I started in Genoa in 2013, I was amazed at the strong community support for police and at how dedicated the men and women here are to maintaining that support and serving this community,” Gammill said. “The officers and civilians in the department are some of the most professional, hard-working people I have ever met. I am grateful for them.”
The township website said Gammill operates the department and its 28 officers with a philosophy of Community Oriented Policing.
“Community Oriented Policing promotes and supports organizational strategies to address the causes and reduce the fear of crime and social disorder through problem-solving tactics and police-community partnerships,” said genoatwp.com.
Genoa Township, in southeastern Delaware County, has grown to a population of 27,000, nestled between Polaris, Hoover Reservoir and the city of Westerville.
Gammill noted that while handing out candy from a cruiser on a chilly Halloween night, children thanked him for his service and keeping them safe, while parents offered bowls of chili.
“That gives me so much hope,” Gammill wrote, and cited the local slogan, “what a special community Genoa Township is, it truly is, A nice place to live.”
On a lighter note, he said, “There is no truth to the rumor that I am going to be the new stand-in for Brutus Buckeye. However, I may take the job as stage manager for Bruce Springsteen’s next concert tour. … It’s time to hang up the uniform and put on the retirement clothes, aka sweats and a T-shirt. Be sure to say hello if you see me around town. It’s been an honor to be your Chief of Police.”
Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at [email protected].