To: City Public Safety Directors
From: Steve Wheeler, Public Safety Director Orrville, Ohio, President of OAPSD
The Journey Begins
It is with great honor and excitement that I take the reins to serve as the President of the Ohio Association of Public Safety Directors (“OAPSD”). Many presidents preceded me, and no doubt many more will follow. As I enter my first year as President, I will strive to build on the programs of the past and create new pathways and future opportunities for the organization and its members.
The initiatives of our past presidents and membership will continue. Tom Robbins and Mike Courtney made great strides in expanding membership rolls and focusing organizational attention on the need to expand organizational influence on statewide matters of public safety concern. I intend to build upon these ideas and initiate other successful programs.
As we look to the future, we continue to see local government administrators performing their duties and responsibilities during uncertain times. The state economy and local government budgets have forced Ohio public safety service providers to be more lean and efficient, resulting in increased pressure on safety forces, their managers and administrators.
As our economy recovers, the public safety force funding environment will stabilize, allowing exploration of new ideas and approaches, as well as the return of creative and innovative service models. We must become more efficient to meet the expectations of our community’s citizens and endeavor to provide better services.
Role of the President
The OAPSD president is responsible for clearly communicating the tone and direction of the organization and being responsive enough to enable the Board and OML staff to execute on that direction. Members need answers, the Board and executive director have great ideas but often without budgetary resources, matters of statewide public safety interest occur weekly but the legislature waits for no one, local issues surface and fade away, and members have concerns – there’s hundreds of seemingly small things effecting our members on a weekly basis that won't wait for a quarterly board meeting.
I have actively communicated with many members through our email list-serve and phone calls I would get during the workday asking for help, complaining about something the OAPSD did or didn't do, or asking a question for which I had to find the answer. I have found the collective knowledge of our organization and the willingness to share best practices of immeasurable value and have heard from many members who echoed this sentiment.
Through the use of the OAPSD list-serve discussions on a myriad of issues, we have learned to say "yes" when someone had a better idea than we did and we have learned to say "no" when a good idea just wasn't right for the time. We have learned to listen to others and have used their experience as a guide in making decisions. We’ve learned from our collective mistakes, from the excellent skills of others, and from experiences where we have had to stretch out of our comfort zones. Through these email exchanges we’ve collectively expanded our abilities to lead.
We do great things
If you’re not a member of OAPSD I urge you to join. If you are a member, I task you with the duty to get one of your fellow public safety professionals in your area to join the OAPSD in the next six (6) months. The OAPSD is committed to playing an even bigger role in guiding the delivery of essential public safety forces services to local communities and statewide to the citizens of Ohio.
All of this will result in a busy and most exciting year that will benefit our members and public safety professionals for years to come. With the help of our hard-working members, the Board and the OML, we can make this all possible. Thank you for the privilege of serving. I'm looking forward to working with you!
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