GIRARD - New police Chief Jeffrey Palmer will have a lot of experience should he need some advice.
Palmer was sworn in as chief Thursday by Municipal Court Judge Michael Bernard. He scored highest on the chief's exam given in February, besting Capt. John Villeco, who had been acting chief since former Chief Frank Bigowsky was demoted last June.
Villeco will return to the captain's position, as will Bigowsky, under the terms of the settlement he reached with the city after a dispute with Mayor James Melfi.
The Civil Service Commission on Wednesday certified the results of the test to Melfi.
Palmer said he likes having Villeco and Bigowsky around to sound out for advice.
''Their input is going to be very important to me, and I'll look to them for advice in certain situations,'' he said.
Palmer said he wants to increase the department's involvement in the community.
''We need to become more involved in our community,'' Palmer said. ''We need to be a part of our community, not apart from our community.''
Palmer said he also wants to revisit some of the city's unsolved crimes, which include unsolved homicides, such as the death of Lena Cross and her two young sons following a fire in their apartment in September 2005.
''We'll definitely be taking a look at that (unsolved crimes),'' Palmer said.
Girard had the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police involved in the testing procedures for chief, and Palmer said he will look at some of their recommendations.
Palmer said the department was making strides when Bigowsky was chief and he said he wants to build off the momentum.
Palmer has spent his entire 20-year law enforcement career in Girard. He thanked those who attended Thursday's swearing in ceremony, including Howland Chief Paul Monroe, for showing their support.