Ptl. Ralph Wirkner is the Wellington police department’s 2018 Officer of the Year.
Chief Tim Barfield presented him with the honor Jan. 22 before village council.
Wirkner began serving the community in 2016 after previous stops in Bay Village, Amesville, and with the Marietta College campus police department.
Great leadership qualities and a drive to make optimal use of each day were the primary factors in Barfield’s choice for his top officer, the chief said.
“I’ve just been doing my job and I guess they think I’ve been doing it well,” Wirkner said. “I guess it was my work ethic.”
“Ralph is being very modest,” Barfield interjected. “He comes in, never complains, and takes every call that comes his way. Everyone here loves Ralph and loves his work ethic. He always handles what’s put in front of him.”
Wirkner said Wellington residents have been eager to make officers’ day-to-day routines a bit easier.
“The appreciation that the citizens of Wellington show the police department is just incredible,” Wirkner said. “You can’t hardly go to a restaurant to get lunch without someone wanting to buy your meal for you. It happens all the time. People will walk up to you and just thank you.”
Wirkner said he and other officers are still thankful to residents for passage of Issue 34 in November. The ballot measure raised the village’s income tax rate to 0.75 percent and enacted an equal tax credit for those who live in Wellington but work and pay taxes in another municipality. Yearly revenue from the measure will be used to relocate the police department to a plaza located at 147 and 149 East Herrick Ave., which will be a massive upgrade to officers’ working space.
“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “We kind of work in a closet here. We’ll all be looking forward to it and it will make so many things that we do so much easier.”
“We have a good department and the supervisors always work with you if you have an idea,” Wirkner said. “It’s a great town with great people.”