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Charles Town names new police chief

December 15, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - An experienced law enforcement investigator who has worked on counterterrorism efforts in the FBI and the U.S. Department of Energy has been named as Charles Town's new police chief.

Barry Subelsky, 59, of Hedgesville, W.Va., said he is scheduled to take over his new job at the Charles Town Police Department on Jan. 3.

Subelsky follows former Police Chief Mike Aldridge, who retired from the department earlier this year.

After Mayor Peggy Smith was elected May 26, she formed a police task force to search for a new police chief, said Charles Town City Council member Don Clendening, who chaired the task force.

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Aldridge retired under former Mayor Randy Hilton, but Hilton said he did not want to name a new chief because he thought that decision should be left up to the next mayor.

Hilton said Doug Nichols, who had been a captain at the department, would serve as interim police chief until a replacement for Aldridge could be found.

Clendening said seven people applied for the police chief's job, although one dropped out.

Each of the applicants was given a list of questions as part of the interview process and were scored, Clendening said.

It is the mayor's choice to decide who holds the police chief's job, and Smith decided to hire Subelsky about a week ago, Clendening said Wednesday night.

Clendening said he likes Subelsky and said his experience could be a great benefit to the area.

"The guy has a very broad range of exposures," Clendening said.

Subelsky was born and raised in Detroit and graduated from Eastern Michigan University. He began a government career as a U.S. Army infantry officer and was a rifle platoon leader in the Vietnam War.

While serving in the Army, Subelsky continued his education and received a master's degree in business management from Webster College in 1978, according to a press release from the city.

Subelsky left the Army after nine years of service to start a law enforcement career, the release said.

Subelsky worked two years as a police officer in Houston, and later worked as a special agent investigator in the Houston, Cincinnati and Washington divisions of the FBI, the release said.

At the Washington FBI field office, Subelsky worked on domestic and overseas terrorist programs and was the SWAT team leader for the office for 10 years.

In 1998, he was promoted to the position of special events management unit chief at the FBI's national headquarters, which involved implementing counterterrorism response programs for special events such as Olympic Games in the United States.

In 2001, Subelsky retired from the FBI and started work for the U.S. Department of Energy, initially assigned as a counterterrorism plans officer for the agency, the release said. His work eventually involved working on emergency response programs used in situations such as radiological accidents.

Subelsky said in a telephone interview Wednesday night that he will work at his U.S. Department of Energy job until he starts work at the Charles Town Police Department.

Subelsky said he always has wanted to return to police work and has been following local news. Subelsky said he decided to apply and was impressed by the way the city handled the application process.

"I called my wife and I said I think this will be the right thing to do if they choose me," Subelsky said.

Subelsky said he has been in town since he was hired, talking to people on the street about issues.

Subelsky declined to talk about any plans he has for the police department, saying he first wants to discuss those issues with members of the department.

"I do try to intend to be as open as I can," Subelsky said.

Subelsky said a police department cannot solve all of the problems in a town, but it can work with the community.

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