BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Newly named Maumee Police Chief David Tullis is committed to community policing – a philosophy that embraces the concept of civic partnerships.
“I am a firm believer in connecting with the community and I think it is important to maintain strong partnerships with the Maumee schools and Maumee businesses,” he said.
Tullis, age 58, was sworn into office at the February 4 Maumee City Council meeting, following a unanimous vote approving his appointment. He brings over 33 years of experience to the job.
“I am humbled and honored,” he said.
Tullis was one of eight applicants considered for the job and one of four to complete the interview process. A committee of city staff and residents were involved in the decision process to hire him for the job. Maumee Mayor Richard Carr said that appointing someone from within the department was very important to the committee.
“For every officer who is interested in progressing, it is important that they see that those opportunities exist and that they will be recognized for their hard work. I believe that helps create a better police division,” said Carr. “In the case of Chief Tullis, he did everything that he possibly could throughout his career to put himself in the position to become the chief.”
Tullis joined the Maumee department in 1985 and served several positions, including patrol officer and detective. In 1990, he was promoted to the position of sergeant and in 2014, he became a lieutenant. He has extensive police experience and is credited with developing a field-training program for dispatchers and the Citizen’s Police Academy. He also founded the Maumee Domestic Violence Task Force and he helped develop the Senior Outreach program. He has received numerous letters of commendation and was nominated for Officer of the Year in 2003. He also received lifesaving awards in 1992 and 2000.
He holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice from The University of Toledo and he completed the Police Executive Leadership College and the Certified Law Enforcement Executive program, which are presented by the Ohio Law Enforcement Foundation. The programs are designed to enhance leadership skills and Tullis believes they are an asset to any officer interested in pursuing a higher department rank. In fact, he plans to make completing those programs a requirement for any officer who wants to advance in the department. Previously, the department made it optional, he said.
“If you’re going to accept a position of authority and leadership in our department, you’re going to have to have training,” he said.
Since November, Tullis has served as the interim police chief after former Police Chief Jim MacDonald retired from service. As interim chief, Tullis oversaw the law enforcement activity and day-to-day administration of 60 full-time department staff, which includes 42 police officers.
Tullis believes that Maumee has one of the best police departments in Northwest Ohio, thanks in part to the equipment and training the city has continually supported.
He also said that the philosophy of allowing officers to rotate to various jobs within the department makes them well-rounded in their work.
He acknowledged that current challenges facing law enforcement are the legalization of marijuana and the negative perception of police officers in general, which is why he believes it is more important than ever to connect with the community.
“Nothing gives me greater joy than to hear that we have provided a service for somebody and they say, ‘This is why I live in Maumee.’ And it’s not just the police service, it’s the road service and more,” he said.
He plans to continue many programs that enhance the community police philosophy, such as having school resource officers at the high school and middle school and hosting the anti-drug D.A.R.E. program, as well as maintaining business checks at night while meeting with business leaders face to face during the day to discuss safety and crime prevention.
Tullis also recently implemented an extra “eye check” or extra patrol to boost police presence in areas of concern within the city. With the program, any area that has experienced crime receives a routine check by each officer on duty a minimum of three times per shift.
In addition to the extra eye patrol, Tullis also plans to boost victim services by adding a program that activates police follow-up anytime a crime is reported.
“Now, if a report is submitted and there is an arrest made, then there is no more contact with an officer until the person has to appear in court and then they are a witness. So there is a lot of re-victimization and I think we can improve that,” Tullis said. “Anytime you are a victim of a crime, I think you should receive a follow-up phone call from a police officer.”
Tullis also plans to continue fostering and developing officers within the department, which he believes is one of the most important things he can do as a leader.
“I know that a good leader cares about the people they work with. If they know that I care about them, then they know that I am always going to have their back and their best interest and a leader needs to do that,” he said.
Carr said that solid police work made Tullis a perfect candidate for the job.
“Everywhere I go, our police division is recognized, and I think it is important to maintain that tradition and I know Dave will do that because he deeply cares about the job that he does,” said Carr.
While his role as chief became official this week, the work Tullis has done for the past three decades has prepared him well, he said.
“There isn’t one aspect of that department that I haven’t been intimately involved in,” said Tullis. “I am not nervous about it at all – there isn’t anything in there that someone could throw at me that I couldn’t handle and it’s because of what I have done throughout my career to prepare myself.”