When Capital University police put out a call for a possible stolen bike, Bexley Sgt. Dawn Overly-Sheterom was the first to spot the suspect.
She pulled alongside the biker with a backpack and hollered, "Drop the bike! Sit down on the sidewalk!"
He hastily complied.
Within moments, two more Bexley police cars arrived. Bexley has a mutual aid agreement with Capital University police.
A fast response is one of the things Bexley police are proud of.
But Chief Larry Rinehart is worried.
Due to retirements and injuries, he's been short-handed for three years.
"We've been forced to make our officers work overtime," he said. "Some of our officers work a lot of overtime. So my biggest concern is officer burnout. How hard can I push these police officers and have them still function on the street, at the high level we need them to function at?"
There's a civil service exam for more officers on Oct. 5, but he says too few have applied. In the past, more than 300 have shown up.
""I have 30 people signed up to take it. We've extended the test deadline by a week," the chief said.
That's one-tenth the number he needs.
In the next four years, he expects at least four more officers to retire.
Because of extensive background checks, physical fitness, polygraph and psychology profiles, he said only a handful make the grade.
"If I can hire one top candidate out of 50, that's good," Rinehart said.
Bexley is also competing for potential police officers with other suburbs.
Bexley police answer more than 13,000 calls a year.
Rinehart said that this small city is so close to downtown Columbus that it deals with some big city crime issues.
"Main Street and Broad Street run right through town. That brings a lot of traffic, and it brings a lot of other things. We have as much police excitement as an officer wants to deal with on any given shift in any given week."
But he also said that it's typical small town America.
"We can step back from that, and we can provide personalized community-oriented policing."
Helping people and getting to know them is the big draw for Overly-Sheterom.
She's been on the department for 12 years. She recalled the day she took a call to help an older woman who had fallen. She made a friend that day.
"She was in her 90s. She had trouble hearing, trouble doing things on her own. She lived alone. And she would call me up and I would come over and assist her. She became like a grandmother to me," Overly-Sheterom said.
And whether it's a house call or a police chase, she thinks future officers might like Bexley, too.
After Bexley police detained the man on the bike, they turned him over Capital University security.
University spokeswoman Nichole Johnston said that he was charged with criminal trespass, and the investigation is ongoing.
People interested in taking the civil service exam to be a Bexley police officer can find the information and application here.
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