BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Maumee Assistant Police Chief Josh Sprow will be Maumee’s next chief of police.
Maumee City Council unanimously approved his appointment at the March 1 meeting. He will take over the duties on May 19 when Chief Dave Tullis retires.
Sprow joined the Maumee department as a patrol officer in 2002. He moved up the ranks from investigator in 2007 to sergeant in 2012 and then to lieutenant in 2019. Last November, Sprow was named assistant chief of police, which at the time was a newly created position within the division.
Maumee Mayor Richard Carr said promoting from within the division is a priority.
“I cannot speak highly enough of the qualifications, the demeanor, the experience and the commitment that Assistant Chief Sprow has,” Carr said.
Having two months’ advance notice for Sprow to move into his new role as chief will allow ample time for a smooth transition while finding the right officer to fill the assistant chief position. Sprow is taking over a division that has 10 fewer staff members than it did last year, with two secretaries, two dispatchers and six police officer positions eliminated due to restructuring amid lost revenue from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have to be more efficient in our work here,” Sprow said. “I get it. You’ve got to be able to adapt and work smarter.”
Sprow recently completed his leadership education through Certified Law Enforcement Executive training or CLEE, a 14-month program that takes place through the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police. He also plans to pursue his master’s degree in police administration.
He is credited with several accomplishments within the division, including updating the police field training officer program and implementing a new training manual for the dispatcher training program. As more coronavirus restrictions are lifted, he also plans to implement a citizens’ review board, which would be composed of community members providing input on policy, hiring processes, disciplinary decisions and more.
“I am 100 percent in favor of transparency. I think it is huge in our work and that is why I wanted to be involved in the citizens’ review board,” Sprow said. “If our guys are doing something they are not supposed to, they will be held accountable.”
Body cameras, which the division implemented just weeks ago, will make a huge difference in providing that transparency, he added.
In addition to the review board, Sprow also plans to expand the division’s presence on various social media platforms and in its recruiting practices, adding that the number of individuals seeking a career in law enforcement is declining.
“One of the biggest things is updating the hiring process and including lateral entry to get larger a pool of applicants,” he said.
A demanding work schedule and job stress make the job difficult, but Sprow believes that it is possible to find good candidates by talking to high school students while they are considering college majors.
Sprow received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bowling Green State University in 1999 and completed the Police Executive Leadership College in 2016. He began his career in law enforcement in the Defiance Police Department and later worked for the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio.
“Something early on drew me to policework. It’s the one profession out there that has that level of respect. Even with everything going on now, a vast majority of the community supports us and appreciates what we do, especially in our community,” he said. “The bigger thing for me was being able to be part of the problem solving for the community.