Retiree reflects on 33-year law enforcement career
Serving 33 years in law enforcement and 30 years at the helm of his department has afforded Washington Township Police Department Chief Rick Core with many meaningful and life-changing experiences, he said Friday while completing his final shift as he officially retires.
From pulling a child out of Indian Lake and saving the youngster by performing CPR, to saving individuals from of the twisted wreckage of a car to putting up a determined fight against the war on drugs, Chief Core said it has been an honor to be able to serve his community in this capacity.
During his time at the department, he has been able to hire and train approximately 100 officers and has been appreciative for the community support through eight levies that have been passed, including a 3.5-mill replacement levy that received voter approval in May. That levy will afford full-time law enforcement coverage in the township once the full collection begins.
“Retiring is bittersweet. It has been a very rewarding career and I’ve enjoyed seeing officers that we’ve trained being able to spread their wings. Now they’re located all over Ohio,” Chief Core said.
“It’s through the wonderful crew that I have behind me that we’ve been able to accomplish so much and grow as a department, and through the strong support of the residents in our community. It’s been a true privilege to serve.”
Lt. Michael Thompson has been named the new interim police chief for Washington Township Police Department, beginning Oct. 1.
“We have a great leader in Lt. Thompson. He has definitely earned the promotion after all of the hard work he has put in. I have 100 percent confidence in him,” Chief Core said of the lieutenant, who has served in the department for seven years.
Prior to entering law enforcement, Chief Core said he initially worked at AcuSport Corporation after his graduation from Bellefontaine High School in 1979, and quickly became acquainted with many law enforcement officers through that role.
“A lot of the law enforcement contacts were funneled to me, so I got to know officers and deputies in the area,” he said. “A friend asked me to do a ride along with him, and that’s kind of how it all started.”
The now-63-year-old said on one particular law enforcement ride-along, then-Logan County Sheriff Michael Henry was passing by, and asked Core, “Why are you in the passenger’s seat? You should be in the driver’s seat.”
“He encouraged me to attend the academy, and that’s just what I did,” Chief Core said, noting that he was hired at the Washington Township Police Department on Sept. 11, 1989, and then began the police academy offered through a satellite program at the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center through the London Correctional Institute.
While he considered working at the Logan County Sheriff’s Office before entering the field, Chief Core said he was encouraged by his mentors to apply at Washington Township PD, “to try to make things better at Indian Lake.”
The new retiree also served as a Bellefontaine Police Department Auxiliary officer for approximately 28 years as well.
In recent years, Chief Core said priorities for the WTPD have included being a community-oriented department, along with expanding its capabilities, including with the recent additions of the K9 unit and establishing the Logan County Unified Drug Task Force with other departments in the county.
Beginning the school resource officer program alongside Indian Lake Schools has also been a major highlight as well.
Superintendent Rob Underwood remarked about Chief Core’s contributions and upcoming retirement at the September Indian Lake Board of Education meeting.
“He works tirelessly to make sure we can have school everyday in a good, safe environment and I just can’t thank him enough for the work he’s done for Indian Lake.”
Chief Core said his children and wife, Jana, were always there to bolster him and provide unwavering support through some long nights and difficult days in law enforcement.
“The support of my family made such a big difference. My wife has had to take on more roles in our family and she deserves so much of the credit,” he said, noting that he and Jana just marked their 38th anniversary Thursday.
With his retirement from law enforcement, Core will continue his work at his business, FourSight Financial Services LLC.
“I’ve had two jobs for the last 40 years; now it’s time to focus on one job,” he said. “It’s by the grace of God who helped me through as a police officer, and I’m so grateful.”