NEW BREMEN – The passing of former New Bremen Police Chief Doug Harrod on March 13 has many reflecting on his long and extraordinary service to the village of New Bremen.
Harrod served the village from 1980 to 2013.
Current Police Chief Mike Skinner said Harrod inspired all of his staff to a higher level of service.
“He instilled in us the duty to enforce the laws and protect the people ethically but with compassion,” Skinner said, adding “it did not matter what your last name was or where you lived, you were treated fairly.”
Skinner said Harrod felt that working with young people was the best part of the job. He would go into elementary schools for programs “because then the kids can see you as larger than life and someone to look up to. Most of the kids are not exposed to a uniform and a duty belt” in everyday circumstances.
Harrod was recognized for many improvements to the department during his 33 years there, including instituting round the clock coverage with two other officers. When he retired in 2013, the department had grown to six full-time and five part-time officers.
One of those officers was Minster Police Chief Randy Houseworth, who worked with Harrod for 22 years before Houseworth moved over to Minster to become their police chief.
“He was a down-to-earth person you could talk to about anything,” he said. “Anything good about me as a police officer probably came from working with Doug. He was compassionate, caring, fair and empathetic, all of which are important qualities for a police officer.”
Public service ran in Harrod’s family. His father worked with the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office, founding the auxiliary there. Brother David worked for the Wapakoneta Fire Department and Don is the village administrator for Minster.
Don Harrod said “He had the best interests of the village in mind at all times.”
New Bremen Mayor Robert Parker said he remembered Harrod as an honest man who always wanted to do the right thing.
“He managed his guys well, instilling in them values you can still see in the police department today,” Parker said.
Councilman Don Kuck said, “He was a consummate police chief for a smaller village.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.