City honors retiring Chief Richard Biehl with celebration

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

The Dayton community celebrated Police Chief Richard Biehl Tuesday as he is set to retire at the end of the week.

Biehl, who led the department for more than 13 years, was at Levitt Pavilion shaking hands and giving hugs to those who wanted to congratulate him on his career and wish him luck in retirement.

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said Biehl was compassionate and showed empathy for the community and residents of the city.

“You have led the police department with intellect, grace, grit and courage and you have served this community with compassion and love,” Dickstein said.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Biehl took community policing to a new level, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Vipal Patel said.

“I have no doubt when community policing is taught to young officers, young prosecutors coming up in our country ... you will be put forth as the type of police chief that other cities and other police chiefs around our country should emulate,” Patel said.

The celebration included speeches from public officials, specialized units like the SWAT team were put on display for residents to learn more about and there were food and water trucks for residents to enjoy.

Many of the speakers noted that Biehl had to navigate a number of tragedies over the last few years like the opioid epidemic, tornadoes, a mass shooting and the on-duty death of Jorge DelRio. They said he did so with grace.

Biehl’s 13-year stint as police chief is the third-longest tenure in the history of the department. He said serving as Dayton Police Chief was a blessing.

“My final wish for you all and all of your future endeavors, may you be safe and well. May you be at peace, may you always be held in love and met with compassion,” Biehl said, thanking community members and Dayton police for their support.

The city plans to hire a new police chief by October and has begun looking for a new one by hiring an executive search firm to find candidates.

One of the police reform recommendations was to involve community members in developing the police chief job description, and include reform committee participants in the interview and hiring process.

The city manager appointed a selection oversight committee that will include several representatives from the police reform working groups. City officials said the selection process will include input from city staff, reform group members, community stakeholders and neighborhood leaders.

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