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University Circle Inc. Selects Tom Wetzel as Chief of the University Circle Police Department

Posted September 28, 2023 in Press Releases

University Circle Inc. (UCI) has announced that Chief Tom Wetzel of the University Circle Police Department (UCPD) has agreed to serve in the role permanently after acting in an interim capacity for the past four months. Chief Wetzel brings more than 38 years of dedicated public safety service and an innovative community policing mindset to the role.

Wetzel began his career in law enforcement as a dispatcher with the Richmond Heights Police Department from 1985 to 1987. He then worked with the Beachwood Police Department for 31 years, ascending to the rank of lieutenant, before accepting the job of Chief of Police back in Richmond Heights. Wetzel retired from Richmond Heights in March 2023, and was selected from multiple candidates to serve as Interim Chief of the UCPD in June, following the retirement of former Chief Jim Repicky.

During his time so far at the UCPD, Wetzel has developed an innovative policing vision that is building bridges of trust with the surrounding community. He crafted and began implementing a 90-day action plan with 41 initiatives to address community policing standards, officer training and wellness, and recruitment and retention. Notably, he brought on Grace, a five-month-old Labrador and the region's first community policing K-9. Grace’s purpose is to provide comfort to officers and victims of crime, to attend community events, and to visit schools and hospitals alongside her handler, Sgt. Kurt Keeper. The addition of Grace to the department earned the UCPD recognition as the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Foundation’s “Agency of the Month” for September.

UCI President Kate Borders stated, “As a new leader myself within the organization, Chief Wetzel has felt like my partner in charting a new course for this almost 70-year-old organization. It’s an honor to work with him and I have nothing but confidence in his service to this community as our Chief.”

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to serve this special community and the men and women of the University Circle Police Department,” said Wetzel. “We are aspiring to become an elite police institution and a national model of excellence and I’m confident we will achieve this vision due to the outstanding caliber of the staff that serves here as well as the support of our University Circle Inc. community.”

Wetzel has an AAS in Criminal Justice. He is an adjunct instructor in community policing at a local college, a nationally published author on the field of policing, and a local police trainer on leadership and management. He will be officially sworn in on Thursday, Sept. 28.

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