Sunday, August 01, 1999

Fairfield's new police chief on the case

Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — When Fairfield city manager Arthur Pizzano was looking for a police chief, he was hoping to find somebody willing and able to lead the department to a new level.

        That was just the kind of challenge Michael Dickey wanted. Mr. Dickey, 52, felt he had done all he could in 11 years as chief of the Englewood, Ohio, police department, and he was looking for a challenge he hoped would carry him through to the end of his career.

        “I think the Englewood department was in excellent shape,” Mr. Dickey, 52, said. “I was in a position where I'd like to work another eight years or so, and I had a choice of looking for a new community or staying there. That, coupled with looking for a new challenge, prompted me to look around.”

        Mr. Pizzano hired Mr. Dickey to replace Gary Rednour in June. Fairfield residents can meet the new chief at an open house at the city's Justice Center, 4952 Dixie Highway, Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

        Mr. Dickey's interest in technological innovations in police work appealed to Mr. Pizzano, as did Mr. Dickey's view of the job as one in which he could end his career rather than use as a steppingstone.

        “The third thing we liked about him is, because he came out of a slightly smaller community, he appears able to juggle and balance out his roles,” Mr. Pizzano said. “He allows subordinates to manage, but he also looks for opportunities to roll up his sleeves and get involved.

        “It's good for our officers to see he's approachable. He's kind of a player-coach.”"

        Mr. Dickey is a Dayton native who became interested in police work after working with Montgomery County sheriff's deputies as a volunteer on a rescue squad while serving in the Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn. He became a reserve sheriff's deputy and joined the department on a full-time basis after leaving the Air Force in 1970.

        Mr. Dickey became police chief in New Lebanon, Ohio, in 1982 and later added the village manager's job to his duties. He left New Lebanon for Englewood in 1988.

        Mr. Dickey also considered the chief's job in North Palm Beach, Fla., he said, but he and his wife, Susan, decided on Fairfield to stay close to their son and two grandchildren, who live in Brookville. Their other son and his wife recently moved to England.

        “Staying in southwest Ohio was an attraction, and Fairfield was a department looking for a new direction,” said Mr. Dickey, who is partial to Tom Clancy novels and Broadway-style productions. “It was looking for kind of a reinvention of itself.”


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