REMINDERVILLE – Marco Berquist is the village’s new police chief, having replaced Jeffrey D. Buck II, who retired effective Feb. 29 after serving 27 years with the police department and 16 years as chief.
Village Council promoted Berquist to chief at its April 14 session, and he assumed the position as of April 15 at an annual salary of $83,000.
Berquist has been with the Reminderville Police Department since 2005 and has served in various positions throughout the years. "Congratulations to Chief Berquist, and we look forward to the strong future this new leadership brings," said Mayor Sam Alonso on the village’s Facebook page.
Berquist began his career with the Hiram Police Department in 2004 as a part-time patrol officer. In February 2005, he was hired by Reminderville as a part-time patrol officer, and in August he became full time.
He was assigned to the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force on a part-time basis while working for the village, and in 2007 he tried out for and earned a position on the Valley Enforcement Group’s SWAT team.
In 2009, he was appointed as Reminderville’s detective, where he worked many cases resulting in dozens of arrests. His efforts in the detective bureau resulted in recovering money and property for many victims of crime.
In 2013, Berquist was promoted to detective sergeant, and four years later he became detective lieutenant.
Meanwhile, Buck began his service with the department in February 1993, and became chief in November 2004. Village Council honored his retirement with a resolution adopted Feb. 25.
According to Village Council’s resolution "Buck is best known for his instrumental leadership role in the continued fight against organized crime, including joining forces with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Ontario Provincial Police Organized Crime Section to bring down a multinational $1.2 million laundering operation.
"He is highly regarded and respected as a leader and law enforcement professional by his colleagues throughout the state of Ohio, Summit County and within the village of Reminderville, and is viewed by the members of the police department as a fair and effective leader."
Buck’s roll in the organized crime investigation mentioned above is chronicled in a book titled "Takedown: A Smalltown Cop’s Battle Against the Hell’s Angels and the Nation’s Biggest Drug Gang." Buck penned the book, along with Jon Land and Lindsay Preston.
Buck is also at the center of a civil complaint that a former village police officer filed against him and the village in Summit County court of Common Pleas last year.
According to the complaint, Streetsboro resident Cara Wilson alleges that Buck sexually harassed her and subjected her to gender and racial discrimination while she served as a village police officer from July 2017 to December 2018, when she was fired for allegedly violating village disciplinary policies. The complaint alleges that her firing was due to her complaints concerning the alleged harassment and discrimination and that she was not able to include a response to the village’s explanation for her firing in her personnel file. The complaint claims this damaged her efforts at finding a position as a police officer in another department.
The case is scheduled to go before a court mediator on May 18 and to trial on Sept. 22 if mediation fails.
Also at Village Council’s April 14 session, Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment Inc. (doing business as OHM Advisors) was hired as village engineer from April 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021.
Council directed Mayor Sam Alonso to execute a memorandum of understanding with Tinkers Creek Watershed Partners Inc. for the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020.
Tinkers Creek Watershed Partners is an independent non-profit organization that partners with communities to help meet their needs for managing stormwater and natural resources, provides assistance to local communities in the areas of community engagement, grant writing and expert consultation, and issues advocacy to conserve and restore water quality and habitats in the Tinkers Creek watershed.
Council also repealed an ordinance dealing with peddlers, solicitors and transient dealers, and replaced it with a new ordinance.
It spells out licensing regulations, allowable hours for solicitation, exemptions and penalties. The new provisions can be found on the village’s website by looking under "government," then "legislation," then "ordinances," then "Ordinance 06-2020."
Meanwhile, the village will sell a no longer needed 2017 Ford Expedition police vehicle on www.govdeals.com.
A handful of resolutions were adopted at Council’s March 10 meeting, including the purchase of a 2020 Ford Explorer police cruiser from Statewide Ford Lincoln at a cost of $49,079.
Councilwoman Becki Kovach was authorized to apply for a NatureWorks grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for improvements to Ray Williams Park.
Council accepted the retirement of Police Officer Daniel Clevenger, who had been with the department since September 2012, and confirmed the appointment of Thorsen Eriksen to the architectural board of review.
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