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Lebanon City Police Captain Bret Fisher was officially named chief of the force in a press conference at Lebanon City Hall on Friday, Jan. 27.
Fisher had been acting chief since the retirement of former chief Todd Breiner in October 2022. Fisher has been with the force for 25 years.
Read More: Lebanon police chief Todd Breiner retires
At the same ceremony, Lieutenant Eric Sims was promoted to captain.
In attendance were family members, invited media, and a handful of elected and appointed officials, including Lebanon City Council chair Joe Morales, vice council chair Richard Wertz, deputy fire chief AJ Sweitzer, Magisterial District Judge Maria Dissinger, and former Magisterial District Judge Tom Capello.
“This past year brought great sadness to our department with the police shooting incident that occurred last March 31,” said Capello in prepared remarks. “We lost an officer in the line of duty and two officers were seriously injured by gunfire.”
Read More: Community celebrates Lt. William Lebo’s life and service
“We thank our community for their continued support as we continue to grieve and work through this horrific incident.”
Capello said that with the two injured officers not back to work yet and other staff turnover, the city’s men and women in blue have been extraordinarily committed to the community by filling in shifts and doing what it takes to ensure that the public is protected.
“Recovering from the shooting incident and nationwide staffing concerns are why the leadership of our police department is crucial at this time,” said Capello. “It will take a special team to support our officers as they continue to heal, and I believe it will take a father figure to support this department – a chief who supports their officers in every aspect, both personally and professionally, but who also holds the officers accountable.”
“Someone who can have a frank conversation about what needs to be done, but who also praises, and is proud of, their service and their other accomplishments,” she said.
Capello said this is a time for a new beginning.
“Our chief and captain need to build a deep and mutual respect with not only the department staff, but the community as well, by being visible and approachable,” she said.
Fisher joined the force in 1998 as a patrolman. From 2002 to 2013, Fisher worked with the K9 unit, partnering with three different canines during that period. Fisher and his K9 unit received the 2003 Police Officer of the Year award from Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 42.
Fisher has also worked with the drug task force and as the humane officer. Fisher was promoted to sergeant in 2016, lieutenant in 2019, and captain in 2021. In 2010, Fisher received the LPD Officer of the Year award as voted by his peers.
Sims has been with the force for 17 years, beginning as a patrol officer in 2006. Sims was promoted to sergeant in 2014 and to lieutenant in 2021. Sims had previously received an award of commendation from the mayor’s office in 2019 for his leadership and actions as a supervisor in apprehending a suspect who had fired at an officer.
“Both men are exceptional and have proven themselves as a good team over the last three months,” said Capello.
Capello said that she did not consider any outside candidates.
Capello commended Fisher and Sims for their leadership during the transitional period following the retirement of Breiner.
Fisher made brief remarks following Capello’s speech.
In addition to thanking city council and the mayor for their support during the interim period, he said the most valuable time at the department was the 15 years he spent on patrol and the most valuable award he’s received in his two decades on the force was the one he received from his peers.
“Rather than myself, I have always found far more enjoyment in looking around the police department and seeing others that have succeeded,” said Fisher.
Fisher also congratulated Captain Sims on the promotion, saying it was well-deserved and earned.
“I have the utmost confidence and trust in everyone in the Lebanon City Police Department,” said Fisher. “I would like to thank all the officers, all the detectives, and all my support staff for their help over the last three months.”
Following remarks by Capello and Fisher, City Clerk Cheryl Gibson administered the swearing-in for Fisher and Sims.
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