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Newcomerstown Police captain tapped as next chief

| November 14, 2022

NEWCOMERSTOWN (WJER) (Nov. 14, 2022) – A Newcomerstown Police captain will soon be leading the department.

Opha Lawson Jr. is being promoted to chief beginning January 13th. Mayor Pat Cadle says Lawson is second-in-command to the department’s current chief, Gary Holland, who’s retiring after 13 years in the position.

“[Chief Holland] was an outside candidate from northwest Ohio. He had been chief there and made the move to come down here and interviewed for the job,” Cadle says. “He was the first piece of the puzzle, I consider, of being able to bring Newcomerstown back, and we were glad to have him. He did a great job.” 

Council approved the promotion Monday based on the recommendation of a hiring committee that included Cadle, Personnel Committee Chair Susan Little, Newcomerstown Schools Superintendent Jason Peoples, and two retired police chiefs. Cadle says Holland wasn’t on the committee but made it no secret that he wanted Lawson to succeed him.

“The transition should be easier because the police force already knows him: part-time, full-time. Chief Holland’s had him doing a lot of the paperwork, duties, tasks that every police chief has to do. He’s been getting him ready. He wanted Opha to get the job and was preparing him the best he could.”

Lawson was the only internal candidate in a pool of 23 applicants and one of four the committee interviewed for the position. 

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