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Dayton police chief, who responded to mass shooting, retires

April 13, 2021 GMT

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Dayton police chief Richard Biehl, who led the department’s response to a mass shooting in the city’s entertainment district in 2019, is retiring.

Biehl said in a statement Tuesday that it was the “greatest honor” in his career to serve as the city’s police chief for 13 years, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Mayor Nan Whaley said the community would miss his leadership, the newspaper reported.

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“He has shepherded the department through our current police reform process, making sure his officers were committed to listening carefully to residents as they worked together to create recommendations for how police can be more transparent and responsive to residents,” Whaley said.

Biehl previously was a police officer in Cincinnati from 1980 to 2004, ending his career there at the rank of assistant police chief.

In Dayton, he backed calls for gun controls, made urgent pleas against violence and championed community policing strategies, the newspaper reported.

But others like former community-police relations coordinator and candidate for the Dayton City Commission Jared Grandy said Biehl was less supportive of police reform than his progressive, public statements indicated, the newspaper reported.

“Nationally, policing is at a crossroads, and I want to thank Chief Biehl for helping to lead the department through some very difficult conversations and situations in recent years.” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

She said the search for a replacement for Biehl will start this month and the city will have an “open search with robust community input.”