Harry Busse never moved from his hometown but considers his hiring as the village police chief as a homecoming of sorts.
A Milton Union High School graduate who continues to live just outside town in Union Twp., Busse’s police career was centered down the road in Vandalia for more than 30 years.
Following retirement last summer, he found a job opportunity in his own backyard with the coming retirement of police Chief Garry Kimpel.
“This is literally five minutes from my house,” Busse said from his new office at the Municipal Building. “I went to school here. There are business owners in town I went to school with, people I go to church with. I started thinking about it, and it was truly like coming home.”
Busse and wife, Rita, have four grown children and 12 grandchildren. His mother, Bonnie, lives near the village.
After growing up on the family farm, Busse worked at Smedley’s Chevrolet in Vandalia while attending Wright State University. The business worked on police cruisers from various area agencies and Busse became acquainted with several police officers from Vandalia. After a couple of officers suggested he look into the department’s reserve police program, he applied.
He went through the police academy and started in an unpaid reserve role with Vandalia police in May 1980 working mostly nights and weekends.
“I liked the work,” Busse said, even though he wasn’t paid.
When a full-time position opened, he took the test and was hired as a full-time officer in September 1981.
He worked as a patrol, crime prevention and school programs officer before being promoted to patrol sergeant. He also worked as a firearms instructor and training officer before becoming a lieutenant in 1998. He was an administrative lieutenant and then operations lieutenant.
He was sworn in Dec. 10.
As one of eight officers in the West Milton department, he said he helps on the street when he can, responding on calls when a second officer could be needed. “The guys here do a great job,” Busse said.
He said he enjoys listening and talking with people, skills that come in handy on the job.
“I do enjoy helping people … . Even though there has been some bad press, the majority of the men and women in the job do a great job keeping their jurisdictions safe.”
He’d like village residents to keep an eye out. “Without their help, there is no way we could keep the city as safe as we do. If we have everybody watching, I have a lot more eyes,” Busse said.
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