Sunday, October 15, 2000

Fairfield Twp. chief gets settled

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD TWP. — He's the hometown police chief, and he likes it.

        In the last two years, Richard St. John has served as chief in a village, a suburban city and a township. Now, after two decades, the veteran Butler County officer has finally found his own blue niche — a place where he can grow into his job as the community grows.

        “I have the freedom to do things here that I couldn't do before,” he said. “The township is halfway between a city and village. It's comfort able.”

        Chief St. John arrived in May, after eight months as chief in the Warren County village of Carlisle and, before that, 25 1/2 years with the Fairfield Police. When he retired there last year, he served as acting chief.

        But he longed to be The Chief. It wasn't his first career goal. When the Hamilton native graduated from St. Francis Seminary in Hamilton County in 1969, he considered the priesthood.

        Once he entered police work in the 1970s, he knew what he wanted. He spent 10 years earning a bachelor's degree at night, becoming a case study in hard work.

        “I'll be forever grateful to the people of Carlisle because they gave me my first opportunity to be a full-fledged chief of police,” he said.

        “But as fate would have it, we sold our home in Fairfield and moved to the township last December. Lo and behold, three months later the township chief's job opened and I was approached.”

        It's a much busier place these days. A Home Depot will be built soon. New subdivisions are popping up.

        To help pay for services, township officials will ask voters to approve a 3-mill additional fire levy and a 5.9-mill additional police levy on Nov. 7. Trustees intend to repeal existing 1- and 2-mill fire levies and existing 3.9- and 2-mill police levies.

        After the repeal, owners of a $100,000 home would pay $50 a year for fire and $98 for police, township officials said.

        The additional money would give Chief St. John the resources for “such things as community-oriented policing and a citizens' police academy,” he said. “We're in the process of starting a pilot bicycle program.

        “We want to grow with the community.”


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