The Vevay Town Council on Monday night began the process of restructuring and rebuilding its police force with the appointment of David Wolf as the new Chief of Police.
Wolf replaces James Richards, whose last day with the Vevay force is this Saturday before he moves on to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
The police department has seen several officers leave in the past two months, causing the town council to meet on Monday night to lay out a plan on how to hire and train new officers all while providing the town with adequate protection.
On Monday night, the council officially hired Wolf on a probationary basis, and gave deputy Roy Leap, who is the School Resource Officer hired through the town, to mentor Wolf for a period of time in order to assist him with all of the responsibilities that comes with being the chief.
“David is our interim police chief,” Vevay Town Council President Keith Smith said. “We also set Roy up for two years to mentor him. By state statute, he (Wolf) needs to be a police officer for at least five years before he can be a police chief, but the President of the council can overrule that at any time, but I don’t want to do that until I hear something from Roy that he’s comfortable that David is ready to take it over. I don’t want to set him up for failure, we want him set up for success.”
Smith also said that the agreement between the town and Wolf states that over the next two years — if Wolf finds that he is not comfortable with the chief’s position or if the town council is not comfortable with the situation, Wolf would be allowed to return to being a patrolman and continue with the town.
After Richards leaves officially on Saturday, the town will be down to three officers — Wolf, Leap, and another deputy, but Smith said that the other deputy has accepted a conditional offer of employment with another law enforcement agency, but has not yet completed all of the steps for the new employment. If those steps are completed, it would leave the town with just two officers — with most of Leap’s responsibilities being at the schools.
“Roy’s been back and forth with the Sheriff’s department to try and cover everything that we have open spots for,” Smith said. “Roy, I’m sure, is going to pick up some shift work, but he’s going to stay with the school, but it’s going to have to be maneuvered around with his schedule at the school, because that’s his priority.”
Smith said that the town does have a couple of applicants for deputy positions that the current officers want to go ahead and interview with the hope of getting back to a full force as quickly as possible.
“I’m sure that everyone that they are interviewing is going to have to go through the academy with the state before they can actually be officers; but we’re going to try and get them all in at one time so Brian (Sheriff Brian Morton) has a definite timeline as to how long this is going to last and we’ll be back on our feet.”
Above all, Smith said that the town council wants to assure everyone that there will be protection in place for the town, in collaboration between the town officers and the help of the county sheriff’s office.
New Chief of Police Wolf is excited about the opportunity — and the challenge — that is in front of him.
“I’m really excited about this,” Wolf said. “When they (the town council) made the appointment last night, they made me the interim police chief on a probationary status, basically because of the lack of experience that I have in policing. It’s not really the lack of leadership experience, it’s the lack of policing experience. Roy is going to mentor me for two years, and after six months they’re going to re-evaluate and they may take the ‘interim’ off of it, but Roy and I are actively seeking people to employ. We’ve got a few really good applicants, so at the next town council meeting, we’re going to try and get a few people in and get them hired. We’re going to start from the bottom and build a solid foundation and move up from there.”
Wolf joined the Vevay Police Department in January of 2020 — two years and four months ago — right before the COVID pandemic struck. He has completed his training at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, and also comes to the position with a military background.
“I was in the military about 3 1/2 years,” Wolf said. “I was a tanker, but I did two tours overseas and we were assigned to an infantry unit and they were assigned to us, and we did a lot of room clearing and policing and stuff like that.”
Originally from West Harrison in Dearborn County, Wolf said that he and wife, Sarah, found their home here in Switzerland County over lunch.
“When I got out of the military, we came out and visited my wife’s mom, she lives in Ohio County,” Wolf remembered. “We came up to the S&S Grocery to get some lunch and saw a for sale sign for a house. We drove back and we loved it, we bought it, and we’ve been in Switzerland County ever since.”
He and Sarah have three children: twin sons Austin and Jacob — with Jacob currently serving in the U.S. Air Force; and daughter Maleah.
Wolf is also a part of the community, serving as the varsity Pacer wrestling coach.
“I’m super excited that they gave me this opportunity,” Wolf said of the town council. “They trusted in me. My loyalty showed them enough to go out on a limb and let Roy help me become the police chief.”
And having Leap as a mentor — a longtime officer in the county and a former county sheriff — has to be a big plus moving forward.
“Having Roy in my background kind of makes me feel invincible,” Wolf laughed. “That man is such a wealth of knowledge. He knows everybody. You won’t find anybody who will say a bad thing about him. He’s just so knowledgeable and so good with everything.”