Meadville Tribune

Local News

October 5, 2013

Meadville's new police chief looking to keep things simple

MEADVILLE — For more than a decade, Eric Young’s normal work garb included a civilian shirt and tie.

These days, however, the City of Meadville’s new chief of police is back in uniform, a fashion choice he’s made for a reason.

“When I was a detective, I think I always had good relationships with the community,” Young said during his first interview with the Tribune since taking over his new job. “I get called directly — and people are still contacting me on a regular basis. That’s why I’m in uniform. I’m more visible. If I’m walking over to the courthouse, people will stop and talk to me.”

Young’s focused on keeping things simple. “I’m just a country boy who became police chief,” he said with a smile. “I like to hunt. I like the outdoors. I like fitness.”

While the recent retirements of the department’s chief and assistant chief have shuffled all the department’s top positions, there’s one thing Young wants everyone to understand: Young and Mike Tautin, his new assistant chief, are a team. “That’s what it is,” Young said during his first Tribune interview as the department’s chief. “There’s no I in team — and that’s what I want to build here.”               

Other members of the department’s new management team include Det. Sgt. Mike Stefanucci, who was promoted from sergeant to replace Young; School Safety Officer Sgt. Craig Gump, who moved into the position to replace Tautin; and Det. Sgt. Ed Kightlinger, who was promoted from sergeant to replace Gump. Two sergeants remain to be selected from within the department’s current ranks and two patrol officers remain to be hired based on the results of testing currently under way.

With nine officers on the force with under six years experience and two more newbies to be hired within the next few months, Young’s in charge of a young police department. “Just because we’re a young department doesn’t mean we aren’t a proficient department,” he said. “The young guys have stepped up to their role.”

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