By Brenda L. Holmes
PLAINFIELD — The Plainfield Police Department is looking for a smooth transition as it goes through some changes that will result in familiar faces with some new titles.
The Plainfield Police Commission this week recommended Capt. Darel Krieger to fill the open chief of police position; the town council accepted the recommendation and named Krieger to succeed Chief Jeff Mitny.
Commissioner Jack Burlison attended the council meeting Monday to voice the body's recommendation.
"I've been a member of the police commission for 45 years," Burlison said. "We interviewed nine applicants and based on those interviews would like to recommend Capt. Darel Krieger as the new police chief.
"Capt. Krieger is a 30-year member of the Plainfield Police Department. He served for eight years as a patrol officer, 14 years as a captain, eight years as a captain supervisor, and 20 years as the recruiting manager. Capt. Krieger has interviewed every single member of the Plainfield Police Department."
Krieger started his law enforcement career as a patrol officer in Findlay, Ohio. He's received three bronze stars for his service in Plainfield.
He and his wife of 11 years, Betsy, are both members of the department. She works as an administrative secretary, helping the department with public relations. They met at Plainfield Christian Church and have raised six children.
"She has two grown boys and I have two grown boys and two grown daughters," Krieger said. "When we got married, we had four teen-agers at home - two boys and two girls."
Now as empty nesters, the couple works in close proximity.
"It hasn't been a problem at all," Krieger said. "We have separate offices across the hall. It's been fun. She was in public relations for a number of years so she does all the press releases and keeps me in line."
Jack Miller, formerly police chief here and the current chief of police in Avon, said Krieger will be a great police chief.
"I think the town made an excellent choice," Miller said. "When Chief Mitny and Darel Krieger were hired at Plainfield, I was a detective (in Plainfield). I actually did their background checks when they applied."
He said everything he found in their backgrounds showed that they would be an asset to the town.
"And I guess I was right," Miller said.
All nine of the applicants for the chief position came from within the department.
"We were impressed with all the applicants," Burlison said.
Town council president Robin Brandgard said he believes that the commissioners made an excellent choice to fill the position.
Councilman Kent McPhail participated in all nine interviews.
"This was a very difficult decision," McPhail said. "We had so many qualified applicants. I was impressed. We are blessed to have this group of officers."
Krieger spoke to the council and thanked them for their support.
"I know this was a hard decision because I work with each candidate," he said. "I've now worked with four chiefs, starting with Jim Pound and ending with Jeff Mitny. I hope I can do as good a job as my predecessors."
He said he believes his extensive knowledge of the department's personnel will help him make it a smooth transition.
The opening for the chief's position came when Mitny announced his intentions to retire.
"I've worked in public safety for 30 years between my time here in Plainfield and my time at Wishard," Mitny said. "I recently received an opportunity to do commercial flying and opportunity doesn't always knock twice."
Mitny has been flying since he was 16. He flew off and on over the years, always keeping up his certifications. He recently started a part-time job in corporate aviation.
"Then this full-time opportunity presented itself," he said. "I'm going to miss the department. It's become like a family to me over the past 25 years."
He said he and his wife of 22 years, Linda, will continue to live and be a part of the Plainfield community.
"Linda is a Plainfield girl. She grew up here," he said. "I met her after I joined the department here. Jack Miller (former police chief) actually introduced us."
Miller fondly remembers working with both Krieger and Mitny.
"Jeff started his training to ultimately become a licensed commercial pilot when I was chief," Miller said. "I couldn't be prouder of him. He really has accomplished a lot."
There will be an open house to celebrate Mitny's retirement from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 19 in the courtroom at the Plainfield Police Department.