You may have seen a recent TV story about Delta and its new police chief. Here are some additional facts that didn’t make it into that story.
This past summer, Delta selected Robert Austin as our new police chief. The hiring committee unanimously selected him from a pool of eight applicants. Delta administrators did a criminal background check along with due diligence that included calling numerous references and interviewing area law enforcement officers who had worked with Chief Austin. Everyone we spoke to had wonderful things to say about Chief Austin, his work ethic, and leadership skills.
In the brief time Chief Austin has been with us, he’s already taken steps to upgrade equipment and modernize the way our police department runs. We expect to see long-term cost savings and officers spending more time on the street because of Chief Austin’s improvements.
Recently, a TV reporter provided us with a copy of a separation and non-disclosure agreement regarding Chief Austin and his previous employment with the Sylvania Township. The Sylvania Township agreement prohibited both Chief Austin and Sylvania Township from telling us about its existence or its contents. The agreement specified that Sylvania Township would keep some records about Chief Austin out of his personnel file. We have asked Sylvania Township to release Chief Austin from the non-disclosure agreement so that he could give us information about what happened. Unfortunately, Sylvania Township will not do so.
As part of our background investigation, we checked the retirement paperwork Sylvania Township submitted to the state. When someone retires from a police department, a form must be sent to the state saying whether the police officer retired or retired in lieu of termination or under investigation. Chief Austin’s form filed by Sylvania said he retired in good standing.
We’ve spent considerable time reviewing more than 100 pages of records about why Chief Austin left Sylvania. While there are some things that we’d like to ask Chief Austin if the non-disclosure agreement is lifted, we stand by hiring Chief Austin and look forward to his continued leadership at the Delta Police Department.
We would have preferred to know about these unsubstantiated allegations prior to hiring Chief Austin. However, Sylvania Township’s non-disclosure agreement tied everyone’s hands and prevented us from knowing until we were approached by a TV reporter who had been given the documents.
But we know of nothing that should interfere with the hard work and leadership of Chief Austin.