NEWARK – Mayor Jeff Hall announced Thursday night that he has named deputy chief Erik McKee as the next Newark Police Chief.

McKee, who joined the department in 1995 and became deputy director in 2017, replaces Steve Baum, who suddenly died on March 30 after less than a year on the job. Deputy chief Craig Riley has been interim chief since Baum’s death.

In a press release, the Mayor said, “After careful consideration, I am proud to select Erik McKee to head the Newark Division of Police. Erik brings years of experience in our great city and shows outstanding leadership skills and enthusiasm.

“I would like to congratulate Erik on his new position. I look forward to working with him as police chief as we move the city of Newark forward,” said Mayor Hall.

McKee, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was promoted to sergeant in 2006 and captain in 2016. He has served as a K-9 handler / trainer, field training officer, K-9 division manager, neighborhood impact division manager, and is a current member of the NPD Honor Guard.

McKee asked to be considered for the position of chief a year ago as Chief Barry Connell neared retirement. In the May 20 letter, he asked for the promotion test to be considered before describing his experience and qualifications. He ended his letter by saying he was looking forward to discussing his vision for the department.

He is completing his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration. He graduated from Police Executive Leadership College and has been involved in several community improvement organizations. He is also an instructor and former commanding officer of the Police College at Central Ohio Technical College.

Councilor Mark Labutis, chairman of the city council’s security committee, said, “I’m excited. I think he will do well and represent us well as the chief of police. With all of the programs he has managed, he has done a fantastic job. He has the experience. He has the background. And the vision. “

McKee is a graduate of Edison South High School in Richmond, Ohio. He joined the United States Air Force in 1992 as a law enforcement specialist and toured the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm.

A year ago, Deputy Chiefs McKee, Riley, and Darrin Logan and Sgt. John Brnjic came to Baum, the director of security, as a petitioner for the chief of police. Brnjic was not included because he had not served the department as deputy chief or captain.

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