Campbell considers new police chief, purchases new cruiser and rehires “Rough and Rowdy” cop

Published: Wed, January 16, 2019 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Graig Graziosi


An acting chief has been named for the Campbell Police Department after the resignation of former Chief Dennis Puskarcik.

The department also has purchased and outfitted a new cruiser and rehired an officer who resigned after his appearance in a promotional video for an amateur fight.

Mayor Nick Phillips said Tuesday that Lt. Kevin Sferra will continue to work as acting police chief until a permanent decision is made regarding the position.

Phillips hasn’t decided if he’ll promote a chief from within the department or look elsewhere.

While bringing someone in would require a job search, promoting from within has its own roadblocks.

All Campbell police officers are considered classified employees under their current contracts. In order to be considered for the position of police chief, an officer must have his or her status changed from classified to unclassified.

This requires contract adjustments, which the city would have to navigate in the event of an internal promotion.

Puskarcik made $48,500 when he resigned. He resigned amid an internal investigation that was turned over to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation earlier this month examining allegations that he inappropriately accessed the department’s evidence lockers.

In his letter of resignation, Puskarcik said the city’s investigation had “exonerated him of any wrongdoing,” a claim that Phillips reinforced in his own statement regarding the resignation.

Phillips said he hopes to have a permanent chief selected within the next six months.

In addition to a new acting chief, the department also has a new cruiser in its fleet.

The cruiser – a 2018 Ford Interceptor Utility SUV – was purchased for $28,000, and an additional $8,000 was spent outfitting the vehicle.

The vehicle was paid for through the city’s Law Enforcement Trust – generated from money seized during drug arrests – and a $20,000 federal grant. The cruiser will bring the city’s police fleet to seven patrol vehicles.

In other police news, Ryan Young, the officer who resigned last summer after participating in a promotional video for sports media company Barstool Sports’ “Rough and Rowdy Brawl” boxing match, was rehired by the department and has been working part time.

Phillips said Young has been back at the department for a few months.

“He reached out to us and expressed an interest in coming back. I don’t believe he actually did anything wrong. I think the website that promoted the video sensationalized his interview to market their event,” Phillips said. “I reviewed everything, and he’s a good officer, very respectful. He always has been, and I thought he’d be a good fit to come back so long as he agreed not to connect the city to anymore outside activity.”

After Young’s resignation, Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, offered to pay Young double his salary for the trouble the video caused. Young currently makes $14.70 an hour.

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.