Bigowsky becomes chief, signals change
The new chief plans to wear a uniform and be in the community as much as possible.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- Frank Bigowsky spent years working to become police chief and weeks planning for the swearing-in ceremony.
But, when the moment came and he was officially made chief, the 31-year veteran was speechless.
"When they asked if I wanted to say anything, I was overcome with emotion and couldn't think of a word," Bigowsky said Friday after he was sworn in as chief. "That's strange for me because my wife is usually telling me to shut up."
With his wife, Tina, son, Frank, and daughter, Ariana, at his side, Bigowsky took the oath of office in the municipal court chambers.
"I'm just so excited and so touched that so many of my friends and family are here," the chief said. "It means a lot to me."
Bigowsky is replacing Anthony "Buster" Ross, 80, who finished his 50-year run with the department Feb. 25. Ross spent 32 years as chief.
"It's a dawning of a new day," said Mayor James Melfi. "I firmly believe Frank will work very hard to make this one of the best police departments in the area."
Since Ross left the department, Capt. John Villecco has been acting chief. There have been no major changes in the police department since Ross retired.
Bigowsky said he has spent the past few days talking to administrators and staff about the department. He wants to get everyone's ideas before he decides what changes to make.
He does plan, however, to wear a uniform and be out in the public as much as possible.
He noted that he has a lot of confidence in his fellow officers and feels very comfortable in Girard.
The new chief noted that his top priority will be working to get the police income tax passed in November.
City council is placing a one-quarter percent income tax on the November general election ballot. If that tax passes, it will raise about $400,000 a year for the department.
Bigowsky, who has been captain since 1979, will earn $50,500 a year as chief. He has bachelor's degrees in law enforcement administration and in secondary education, both from Youngstown State University.
Bigowsky also graduated from the Law Enforcement Foundation's Police Executive Leadership College in 2001. The college is a three-week leadership program for law enforcement executives.