Larry Dordea became a policeman in 1977 in Alliance, Ohio.
Eventually, he rose to become chief in Alliance and is credited with withering the crime problem in Alliance. Like many, after retiring he became restless and decided he needed to get back into policing.
But he wanted to make a large impact on Stark County. So what did he do? He ran as a Republican for sheriff against long term Tim Swanson, a Democrat.
The SCPR had just gotten up and running as a political blog dedicated to Stark County politics and government. Dordea was the very first person to comment on a SCPR blog that had to do with the effort that now retired commissioner Jane Vignos and Jackson Township fiscal officer Randy Gonzalez (now chair of Stark County Council of Governments 9-1-1- Governance Committee) to sell centralized 9-1-1 centralized dispatch to Stark County's political subdivisions.
One stop along the way for Vignos and Gonzalez was Alliance City Council. A newspaper report indicated that Dordea had reservations about centralized dispatch.
The Report picked up on the article and questioned whether or not Dordea was too provincial to be Stark County sheriff. Naturally, very few people like to be defined as being a narrow-minded person. And Dordea really took exception. In fact, the blog and Dordea's comment remain on the SCPR and can be accessed with the blog search engine.
So the SCPR and Dordea did not get off to a good start. And he was being told by the likes of Jeff Matthews (the Stark GOP chairman) and Curt Braden (a former Stark GOP chairman and now 29th District Republican Committeeman) to stay away from Olson.
Since the rocky start, the SCPR and Dordea have had a fruitful dialog going as to how to improve Stark County government and politics which is the overriding goal for the both of us.
In December, 2008 (after losing to Swanson in the November general election) Dordea associated with the Hartville Police Department. Chief George Dragovich had been talking about retiring since 2006 and, accordingly, village officials needed to bring someone in that was capable of taking over.
In December, 2009 Dordea became chief when Dragovich finally made good on the retirement talk.
One of the most obvious discovery that Dordea made about the Hartville department was that it was back in the "horse 'n buggy" days insofar as its information gathering and reporting technology was concerned.
We all know the cliche saying "knowledge is power." The fact of the matter is that in law enforcement the saying is not a mere cliche, it is reality. Dordea was one of Stark's first police officials to grasp the critical importance that gathering, reporting and coordinating the dissemination of information was a key to successful policing. In the mid-1990s he was heavily involved in working with a communications technology specialist out of Cuyahoga County in setting up a records management system (RMS) in Alliance.
From those early days, Dordea and the technician, Tom Craven - owner of TAC Computers, Inc., have worked together to grow communications technology tailored to enhance local government police, fire and EMS operations.
The expression "We have come a long way baby" is clearly applicable to the Craven/Dordea relationship.
But it is not a business relationship. Rather it is a connection forged to grow a rudimentary technology into one which has as its goal the establishment of a seamless, integrated law enforcement tool designed to keep the good guys and gals ahead of the baddies.
And the combo is working to the advantage of both in terms of increasing the learning, and by extrapolation, to all of law enforcement in northeast Ohio.
As stated above, when he took over in Hartville, one of Dordea's most pressing needs was to find a fix to the Hartville Police Department's backwater communications profile.
So he turned to Craven.
To make a short story of the contact and get to the main point of this blog, suffice it to say that Dordea may have struck gold for Hartville and all of Stark County in making the reconnection with Craven.
In the course of the conversation about the Hartville dilemma (a need, but not much money), Craven said that he could solve Hartville's and, indeed, all of Stark County's emergency force needs (Stark has 33 fire emergency units and 22 police units according to 9-1-1 project manager Joe Concatto) for free.
Depending on how one defines "free," yes - free.
The "freebie" is in the sense that the money (probably about $1 million or so), if it comes, will be in the form of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant through the Summit County Emergency Management Agency located in Akron. Tom Craven tells Dordea that his company, TAC Computers, Inc., can provide for all of Stark County's emergency force communications needs with funds that can be obtained through the grant.
But Stark County officials must sell Summit County officials on Dordea's idea. Presently, Summit is hooked in with another company which, Dordea says, does not have near Craven's proven quality. To back up his claim, Dordea passes out a list of about 100 police departments through northeast Ohio in what is know as region five Homeland Security for disbelievers to contact for their read on Craven's work and equipment.
Clearly, with this effort to bring countywide emergency force communications, Dordea has made a telling rebuttal to The Report's 2008 suggestion that, perhaps, Larry Dorea was too provincial to be Stark County sheriff.
If he decides to run in 2012, he has positioned himself to be a prime contender for being elected Stark County's lead policeman.
The SCPR was at the Stark County commissioners meeting this past Wednesday and recorded Dordea's presentation on the need for Stark to pursue a FEMA grant.
Tomorrow, the SCPR will run Part 2 in this series and in the video portion of the blog, you will see Chief Dordea field the questions of Commissioners Bosley, Ferguson and Meeks and 9-1-1 project manager Joseph Concatto (a former Creighton City of Canton administration official and a former Canton City fire chief).
In this Part 1 video, see Dordea's core presentation to the commissioners.
Here is the video.