LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – Many Lowellville citizens are angry they still don’t have a police chief over a month after the former chief resigned.
Chief Rick Jamrozik stepped down after being put on paid administrative leave in August. The department put Jamrozik on leave after his ex-girlfriend filed a restraining order against him, saying she feared for her life.
The topic of who would replace Jamrozik was brought up ten minutes into Wednesday night’s Village Council Meeting, the reason most of the crowd showed up.
“It’s gone on way too long and I’m not the only one in town who feels that way,” said Lowellville resident Terry Ciccone.
Mayor Jim Iudiciani will decide who to appoint police chief and council will vote on it.
Two former Lowellville police chiefs, including Bill Vance, who served as chief for 13 years, also attended to show support for Captain Donald Coppola.
Coppola, who has been with the department for over 15 years, is one of the captains temporarily filling in as chief.
“This man is well-qualified, actually is overqualified, to do this job. I want to know why he’s being passed over and why games are being played,” Vance said.
Coppola was at the meeting after a three-day suspension. He goes back to work on Thursday.
“I’ve been a council member 20 years. I’ve seen a lot of officers in and out, and he’s a good police officer,” said Councilman Keith McCaughtry. “The mayor and I have talked about it, and he knows how I feel.”
Ciccone said Coppola “has been looked over one too many times,” and asked council and Iudiciani to reconsider him.
Iudiciani said there are four other applicants he wants to consider. He hopes to have the position filled by October.
Some people were not satisfied with his reasoning, which led to an argument that would close the conversation on finding a new chief.
“You want to call me a liar? I’m going to call you a liar, and your brother a liar. You’ve had your time…we have a meeting to go through,” Iudiciani said.
The department welcomed two part-time officers after the argument in a slightly awkward swearing in ceremony.