Oak Harbor Police promotes three

The Oak Harbor Police Department spent the final month of 2007 implementing a calculated organizational restructuring in a push to bolster efficiency and improve internal communication.

Two officers traded in their three stripes for lieutenants’ bars as a result of the shift, each tasked with heading a major, respective component of the department, the Special Operations and Patrol divisions.

When Captain Rick Wallace, interim police chief, started cutting his teeth in Oak Harbor in 1977, the department consisted of a chief, a captain, two lieutenants, a pair of sergeants and half-a-dozen patrol officers.

“That was perhaps a bit too vertical for the size of the department at the time,” Wallace said. “Over the course of a decade or so, the structure was changed to the point where there was the chief, a captain, and six sergeants, which was probably too flat. So I am confident that this restructuring will go a long way in providing a more efficient working process within the department.”

Lieutenant Tim Sterkel heads the Special Operations Division, which is made up of detectives, drug enforcement, and jail and support services — or records.

A 32-year veteran of the department, Sterkel has more than proven himself over the years as a competent detective and detective sergeant. He rose to the rank of sergeant in 1987 and most recently supervised a unit that consisted of drug, traffic and street crime enforcement.

Lieutenant John Dyer has taken the reins in the Patrol Division, the largest single component of the department. In addition to patrol, the division consists of traffic enforcement, or motorcycle officers; plainclothes patrol, which deals with street crime; and the high school resource officer program.

No fledgling himself, Dyer has served the department for just shy of a quarter century. His labor of love has been the DARE program, a successful undertaking that he implemented. He was promoted to sergeant in 1995 and served as the senior patrol sergeant before the recent promotion.

Officer Larry Ferguson also jumped a pay grade when he was promoted to sergeant to fill the formidable shoes of the recently-retired veteran sergeant Bill Russell. Ferguson is shift supervisor for the Patrol Division.

Ferguson, who has a decade with the department, is no stranger to the Patrol Division but spent the last three years as the high school resource officer.

The Oak Harbor Civil Service Commission conducted the promotional processes.

Wallace felt the changes would only serve to strengthen an already cohesively effective department.

“I feel that these three officers will certainly enhance the department’s ability to provide quality police service to the community,” he said.

The city has not yet determined a timeline for appointing a new police chief.

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