XENIA — A packed courtroom greeted Xenia Police Division officer Chris Stutes when he arrived to be sworn in as Xenia’s new police chief on Friday.
The ceremony in Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Buckwalter’s courtroom provided a great backdrop for the ceremony. Stutes replaces Randy Person, who is retiring after 46 years.
Buckwalter Xenia Municipal Court Judge David McNamee greeted family, visitors, friends, and staff and Bailiff Tim Roop — a retired Xenia police officer — spoke about his long association and friendship with Stutes as did Mayor Sarah Mays, who said he always had the answers to her questions as a new mayor.
City Manager Brent Merriman spoke on Stutes behalf, saying that he and the attending Xenia City Council members felt that Stutes was the “right man for the job.”
The invocation was read by Tom Stutes, followed by the “pinning-on” ceremony featuring the new chief and his wife, Jessica, with attending family members filling the first two pews while visiting police officers from other districts/counties stood in attendance.
Stutes paid an emotional tribute to Person — his boss, mentor, and friend. He noted that he would never be able to fill Person’s shoes so he “brought his own.” He also thanked those who have befriended and mentored him over the years and that he would do his best to continue to serve his department and the community.
Person said he plans to maintain a low-key presence with the XPD until the fall in order to complete the transitional phase of a change in leadership and the expected completion of some of the division’s long-term projects.
A reception in Person’s honor will be held 4-6 p.m. Monday, June 13, at Nick’s Restaurant. The public is invited.