Willoughby Police Department has an Awards Committee comprised of several employees within the Department. The committee reviews the nomination and its supporting documentation and may issue an award or refer the nomination to the Lake County Chiefs of Police Association.
In 2012, Officer Charles Krejsa was chosen as the Officer of the Year. He received several nomination letters noting his exemplary work ethic, diligence, and compassion.
Special Officer Jason Gresko was awarded the 2012 Special Officer of the Year award posthumously. In addition, the Special Officer of the Year Award was renamed the Jason Gresko Memorial Award in his honor.
In 2009, a Civilian Employee of the Year was established. Communications Operator Gwen Thomas was given this award in 2012. She was nominated for her dedication and exemplary work ethic.
The Detective Bureau staff is comprised of a Detective Lieutenant, a Detective Sergeant, 4 Detectives and a Detective Bureau Secretary. All of the officers assigned to the Detective Bureau have secondary assignments in addition to their duties as detectives, including but not limited to, Evidence and Property Room Management, Crisis Negotiation Team member, Lake County Bomb Squad member, and Department Photography.
While the successful investigations usually begin with solid preliminary work from the Patrol Division, the Detective Bureau expends copious hours following through on the information provided.
The Willoughby Police Department Honor Guard was formed in 1994 and at its inception consisted of 9 officers. Today, the Honor Guard has 13 officers who donate their time to participate in parades, funerals, and civic duties.
The Honor Guard marches annually in the Greater Cleveland Police Officers’ Memorial Day Parade, the Willoughby Memorial Day Parade, and the Willoughby Frontier Days Parade. Additionally, the Unit gives military courtesy at funerals of deceased officers.
Members of the Honor Guard conducted a Flag Raising Ceremony at the Willoughby Police Station on May 15, 2009. An additional flag pole was erected so that the National Law Enforcement Memorial Flag can be displayed all year round and can be lowered to honor officers who are killed in the line of duty. In the spring of 2010, commemorative brick pavers and landscaping will be added.
The Patrol Division is the first responder to any request for police assistance. This Division must then coordinate with other divisions for conclusion.
There are several specialized units within the Department. These include the Bicycle Patrol, Motorcycle Unit, Canine Unit, Selective Enforcement, and Emergency Response Team.
Bicycle Patrol Unit
The Bicycle Patrol Unit consists of 26 full-time officers who have completed 40 hours of specialized training. This Unit is utilized in the warm weather months to supplement patrol of the Historic Downtown Area as well as neighborhoods and parks.
Patrolman Daniel Pitts and Special Officer Gary Betzler are the Department’s motorcycle officers. Both officers ride city-owned, specially equipped Harley Davidson Police Edition Road Kings. They are primarily used for handling traffic complaints in residential neighborhoods, although they are still assigned a zone and handle routine calls.
Patrolman Burrington and K-9 Rebel continue to be an active team in the community, assisting with various arrests and playing important roles with tracking and suspect apprehensions. Additionally, they have continue to make public appearances at city functions and festivals.
The City of Willoughby would like to make notification of the passing of K-9 Kilo who provided 10 great years of service to the citizens of Willoughby. He was a true asset to the Willoughby Police Department and he will be missed. The department would also like to give a special thanks to Patrolman Negrea for his 10 years of serving in the Willoughby K-9 Unit and also offer their condolences for his loss.
Selective Enforcement Unit
The Selective Enforcement Unit (Fourth Platoon) makes use of a variety of patrol options such as marked police cruisers, uniform foot patrols, bicycle patrols, and undercover operations. The Fourth Platoon has been temporarily disbanded for economic reasons. Adjustments have been made city wide in all departments while we move ahead in an uncertain economy.
Western Lake County Emergency Response Team
The Emergency Response Team is an all volunteer unit comprised of specially trained full-time officers from the cities of Eastlake, Waite Hill, Wickliffe, Willoughby, Willoughby Hills, and Willowick. Officers appointed to this team must complete a rigorous physical agility test and firearms proficiency test annually. The members are required to monitor a pager 24 hours a day to respond immediately to calls which range from hostage situations to search warrant service.
Special Officers are assigned to a regular platoon, under the immediate supervision of the Officer-in-Charge, the Special Police Officer serves as a member of the Special Police Division of the City of Willoughby; assists any regular police patrol officer when performing his duties; performs related duties as required.
Examples of Duties: Patrols and observes assigned zone area on a rotating shift basis; familiarizes self with citizens, commercial establishments, and residential areas of the city; observes environmental conditions which are conducive to crime; observes persons who are behaving in definable suspicious ways and investigates; maintains contact with police station for backup, identification of persons approached and computer check of individuals or vehicles.
There are 5 Communications Clerks in the Records Division. Their responsibilities include processing all traffic and criminal arrests. This division is responsible for maintaining accurate and efficient records which includes processing all traffic and criminal arrests with associated fingerprints. Along with the arrests, the Records Division is responsible for updating the reports pertaining to criminal investigations and complaints.
The Records Division answers inquiries from the general public and assists them in obtaining copies of reports for insurance purposes. They can be reached at (440) 953-4212.
The duties of the Communications Center include, but are not limited to, handling all incoming emergency and non-emergency calls; dispatching appropriate units (police and fire) to the scenes; monitoring the cameras connected to the jail area and the perimeter of the police station; and notifications made to police and fire departments regarding critical and large-scale incidents. The dispatchers of the Willoughby Communications Center prove their abilities on a regular basis.
On April 21, 2009 the remodeled Kenneth F. Stafford Communication Center was rededicated. The Center is well designed with 3 identical work stations and provides a comfortable work environment for the police and fire dispatchers.