Xenia Police Chiefs
By: Donald R. Person
On September 5, 1984 Gary Brock, a Xenia Gazette reporter, in collaboration with then Chief Dan Aultman published an article entitled “Xenia’s police chiefs interesting group”. The information below borrows liberally from that article and expands on the timeline and completeness of the list of chiefs who have headed the Xenia Police Division.
Xenia was founded in 1803 - the year Ohio was admitted into the Union. In that year, Pioneer John Paul bought 2,000 acres of land from Thomas and Elizabeth Richardson of Hanover County, Virginia, for "1050 Virginia pounds, the currency of Virginia at that time." Paul influenced county commissioners to locate the county seat on his acreage at the forks of the Shawnee Creeks. Xenia was incorporated by an act of the Ohio legislature in 1817 and became a City in 1834.
From 1803 to 1834, Law enforcement duties were handled by the County Sheriff. From 1834 to 1871, the City of Xenia used Town Marshalls to provide law enforcement to the Citizens of Xenia. The first Town Marshall was Alexander Conner. Alexander Conner was born in Ireland in 1790 and immigrated to the United States and settled in Xenia in 1816. Alexander Conner was a successful businessman and was appointed Town Marshall in 1834. In 1836 Conner started erecting three buildings on a lot at 99 E. Second Street in a row house format. Those buildings still exist today and in 1987 were entered into the National Register of Historic Places as the “Alexander Connor House”. In an ironic twist, at the time this article is written, Chief Person, the current police chief owns that property.
There is very little information about the various Marshalls from 1834 to 1870 and the early police chiefs from 1871 to 1880 after the Xenia Police Division was first organized as a police agency on August 28, 1871. We do know that Erastus S. Nichols was the Town Marshall in 1849 when the Cholera pandemic struck Ohio and there is an article describing his heroic actions as Marshal during that period. The 1984 article referenced above stated that Solomon K. Harner was the last Town Marshall and the first Police Chief during this time period. This has not been corroborated but we do know that Solomon K. Harner was a Deputy Marshall, Marshall, and police officer from the early 1860’s until he was appointed as the third recorded Police Chief in 1885 as listed below. From 1881 to present we can document each Chief and their tenure as the Xenia Police Chief. We have included two Acting Chiefs in this list as they both served for more than a year in that position and deserve that recognition.
Those serving in the office of Chief of Police since 1881 are:
Chief Norman S. Tiffany -
(November 24, 1881 to April 15, 1884)
First appointed in 1881 to 1884. Then re-appointed in 1889. See below.
Chief Erastus S. Nichols -
(April 16, 1884 to April 17, 1885)
In 1849 E.S. Nichols was age 31 and was the Town Marshall in Xenia. That was the year of the cholera pandemic in Ohio. E.S. Nichols was put in charge of seeing to the carnage caused by this pandemic. He set up houses and nursing staff to care for the infected and daily went to the houses to collect the dead and see to the disposal of the remains so as not to increase the infection. E.S. Nichols was cited for his heroic and selfless behavior in making comfortable those afflicted in their last days and slowing the pandemic by isolating the sick from the healthy all the while ignoring the danger to himself. Chief Nickell had nine children. Chief E S Nichols was 64 when appointed as chief and only served one year as Chief. He was a force in town being a staunch republican and owning various business around town including a furniture store and part interest in the Torchlight newspaper. One of his daughters married a Mr. R.D. Adair and one must speculate whether that might have led to the Adairs Furniture Store in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Chief Solomon K Harner -
(April 17, 1885 to April 15, 1889)
At the time of his appointment as Chief S.K. Harner had been a law enforcement officer for over 25 years serving as a Deputy Sheriff, Deputy Coroner, Deputy Marshall, Marshall, and Policeman. Harner was promoted to Captain of the night force in 1884 and finally Chief of Police in 1885. There is one story where he seized eight horses and a wagon and spirited them away to Bellbrook at the time of his resignation. He claimed the items were donated to the police force and not the City. He, himself had donated $75 toward it’s purchase. He had spoken to the Police Board and they laid no claim to it. It was for sale and he planned to reimburse those who had made those original donations. He ended up serving himself with several writs in his various capacities to carry out and clarify the issue. He had the reputation as a good strong officer who put up with no nonsense evidently even with himself.
Chief Norman S. Tiffany -
(April 15, 1889 to May 14, 1898)
Chief Norman S Tiffany was born near Old Town. During the War he served as Provost Marshall and later was a Detective with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Chief Tiffany served as Chief of Police twice in Xenia. The first time was from 1881 till 1884 and he was considered the first official Chief of Police under the reorganized Xenia Police Division. Chief Tiffany’s second term as Police Chief was from 1889 to 1898.
Chief Edward M. Smith -
(May 15, 1898 to January 31, 1914)
Chief Smith was born in Xenia on June 3, 1859. He worked at Rader Brick yard and Bradley Flax Mill as a young man which was located where the Eavey Building now stands. Chief Smith then worked at the Collins, Conable, and Trader Foundry. He joined the Police Department in the fall of 1884 but went back to the foundry after a few months. When they closed in 1985, he again went to work for the police department where he was a patrolman for 15 years. He was then appointed Chief in 1898 where he served for an additional fifteen years. At the time the Department consisted of five patrolman. Chief Smith was known for his toughness on criminals and had a knack for flushing them out. He was involved in a gun fight during a robbery with Charles Justice while taking him into custody. Charles Justice was later convicted of murder from another incident. When Chief Smith retired after thirty years of service, the Citizens of Xenia presented him with a Gold badge shaped like a star with a one carat diamond in the center.
Chief James H Canaday -
(February 1, 1914 to March 31,1920)
Chief James H. Canaday was born in Gallipolis, Ohio in 1866. He moved to Xenia when he was 15 and entered the employment of H.E. Schmidt Company where he worked for 20 years. He then worked for B Hackett Fruit Company for four years as a traveling salesman. In 1905 he secured a position on the Xenia Police Force where he served for several years before returning to the Fruit Company. In 1913 he took the advertised civil service test for Police Chief and received an almost perfect score. He was appointed Chief on February 1, 1914. Chief Canaday was said to be an efficient Chief who was respected not only by his staff but by surrounding police departments. Chief Canaday was said to have done exhaustive studies of criminology. Chief Canaday was known as a man of high ideals who continually strived to uphold the dignity of his office.
Chief Michael E. Graham -
(April 1, 1920 to March 20, 1930)
Chief Graham became a full-time police officer in June, 1907. He had worked as a special officer from time to time and proved himself to be made of the right stuff to be hired permanently. However he was laid off in June of 1909 when the police force was cut from seven to three officers. In 1910, while again a special officer, he was forced to shoot a wanted murder who tried to take his gun from him. In 1913 Graham was returned to full-time position on the police force. When Graham was appointed as Chief in 1920 it was said to be a popular choice among the officers as he was already known as the “Dean of the Department” During his colorful career as Chief, he once found himself jumping into a car to arrest a suspect and ended up being kidnapped which resulted in a wild ride from Xenia to Miamisburg where a village marshal looking out for the fugitive vehicle was able to get a shot off and hit the suspect in the face. In 1930 Chief Graham voluntarily step down due to health reason and took the day desk sergeant position where he worked until February 1, 1931 which allowed him to be the first person to retire under the new city pension system.
Chief Ozni H. Cornwell -
(March 20, 1930 to September 7, 1940)
Chief Cornwell started his police career as a police officer in Marion, Ohio. Moved to Xenia in 1925. He was a member of the Ohio National guard for 20 years and came to Xenia to be a military instructor at the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Orphans Home. He served as a Xenia police officer for about 18 months before being appointed as Police Chief in 1930. He resigned in 1940 to assume the Superintendent position with the Ohio State Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
Chief Stanley L. Nickell -
(September 10, 1940 to June 1951)
Chief Nickell started the police division in 1931 and was 30 years old when appointed as the new Chief. Chief Nickel was hailed as possibly the youngest Chief ever appointed for an agency the size of Xenia. During his tenure, Xenia Police division was recognized as one of the best and most modern police agencies in the country by the FBI. Chief Nickel was promoted to Captain in 1937. He took a leave of absence to join the U.S. Army on January 14, 1943 during WWII and returned to continue as Chief once his service time ended. Captain Edgar Carder was Acting Chief during his absence. Chief Nickell died in December of 1979 in his San Bernadino, CA home.
Acting Chief Edgar Carder -
(January 15, 1943 to 1945?)
Captain Carder started with the Xenia Police Force in 1932. He was made a Sergeant around 1937 and promoted to Captain at the time Stanley Nickell was promoted to Chief. When Chief Nickell took a military leave of absence in January of 1943, Captain Carder was made the Acting Police Chief during Chief’s Nickell absence. He is included here due to the length of time he served as Acting Chief.
Chief Ancil R. (Yank) Stephens -
(June 9, 1951 to July 1, 1956)
Chief Stephens started with the Xenia Police Division on July 10, 1922, resigned in April 1923 to take a sales job. Returned to the Police Division in 1937 and was promoted to Sergeant in September 1940. He was appointed as an acting Captain while Chief Nickel was away during WWII. As a youth Yank Stephens was known for his athletic prowess in both football and basketball.
Chief Robert Killeen -
(July 16, 1956 to March 30, 1965)
Started with the police division on April 1, 1941. Promoted to sergeant in June 1951, then Lieutenant in January 1956 - the first in the history of the police division. Then promoted to Chief in July 1956. During his tenure he was responsible for laying out traffic patterns and parking lots in the City. He also served as the Civil Defense Director from 1960 till his retirement.
Acting Chief Casey K. Elliott -
(April 1, 1965- April 1, 1966)
Captain C.K. Elliott was acting Chief for one full year while the procedure for selecting the next chief was challenged by the FOP in Common Pleas Court. The City prevailed and the Chief Miller was appointed as the next Chief. C.K. Elliott was memorialized by having his name attached to the Xenia Police Division’s Finest Officer award known as the “Casey Award”. He is included here because of the length of time he was acting chief.
Chief Harold W. Miller -
(April 1, 1966 to May 3, 1971)
Chief Miller, a master sergeant in the Air Force reserve and a 14 year officer from the Toledo, Ohio Police department came to Xenia PD with no police command experience and was a controversial appointment from the Division’s point of view. Officers felt there were more than one qualified candidate among the current officers in the division, including then Acting Chief Casey Elliot who should have been considered for the position but no current officers were allowed to apply. The City manager prevailed in Miller’s appointment and Chief Miller assumed his role of Chief for the next five years. He struggled to be accepted by the majority of officers during his tenure and after five years resigned to take the Head of Security at Greene Memorial Hospital, a position he held for over ten years.
Chief Raymond B. Jordan -
(November 15, 1971 to March 1, 1978)
Chief Jordan joined the Xenia Police Division as Chief after a long career with the Springfield Police Department where he served for 29 years as an officer, detective, sergeant, lieutenant, and finally captain. Chief Jordan was chosen from a pool of 27 candidates and his starting salary in Xenia was $14, 643.20, the highest ever paid to a Xenia Police Chief at that time. When he left Xenia Police Division, he ran and was elected the Sheriff of Clark County where he served an additional 10 years before retiring in 1987. He also served on the Ohio Police & Fire Pension board for a time while at Xenia.
Chief Dan H Aultman -
(September 25, 1978 to October 26, 1991)
Chief Aultman started his law enforcement career as a Deputy at the Greene County Sheriff Department from 1962 to 1965. Chief Aultman then held various positions around the country from Director of Phoenix College Law Enforcement program to Director of Planning and Research in Scottsdale Arizona, then the same position in Des Moines, Iowa, and finally in Dayton, Ohio before coming back to Xenia in 1978. Dan Aultman was a progressive Chief greatly improving the departments training program and upgrading departmental equipment. Chief Aultman also oversaw the writing of the first set of comprehensive departmental policy and procedures for the division. When the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies issued their professional standards program. Chief Aultman started the police division on the path to achieve that accreditation. After 13 years, Chief Aultman left the Xenia Police Division to take a position with Central State University as Director of Public Safety and Director of the newly formed Law Enforcement Institute at Central State.
Chief Claude N. Lyons -
(January 30, 1992 to February 24, 1995)
Chief Claud Lyons, a US Navy veteran, started with the Xenia Police Division in 1963. Was promoted to Sergeant in 1968 and to Lieutenant in 1973. Chief Lyons was a 1978 graduate of the FBI Academy at Quantico before being promoted to Chief in 1991. Chief Lyons successfully completed the Xenia Police Division’s initial accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in 1993. After retiring from the Police Division, Chef Lyons served as a Coroner’s Investigator for Greene County.
Chief Danny L. O’Malley -
(May 8, 1995 to March 7, 1998)
Chief O’Malley started his police career with the Cincinnati Police Department after serving as a US Marine for four years. He then went on to be the Police Chief in Glendale, Ohio, then Evendale, Ohio and finally the Police Chief in Xenia, Ohio in 1995. Chief O’Malley was a proponent of both Accreditation for police departments and Community oriented policing. He opened a police substation on E. Market St for a short period of time. His tenure was short lived at Xenia due to his top down style of management which did not mesh well with the collaborative style of management the unions and city management had developed over the previous 18 years.
Chief Eric J. Prindle -
(June 19, 1998 to May 30, 2003)
Chief Prindle was a lifelong resident of Xenia. He started his career with the city as a clerk/typist, then as a dispatcher on his way to becoming a police officer in 1975. He spent some time as a detective before being promoted to Sergeant in 1990. He was then promoted to Lieutenant in 1992 before being promoted to Chief in 2003. Chief Prindle focused on community policing and community engagement. Chief Prindle expanded the bike patrol as part of the community engagement. When Chief Prindle stepped down as Chief, he accepted a position of Major with the newly appointed Sheriff Gene Fischer at the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. Chief Prindle received the Casey Elliott “City’s Finest” Award in 1988 and is one of only five Xenia Police Offices to ever receive the Xenia Police Medal Of Valor Award for saving a life. He also received the Carnegie Hero’s Award for his actions also.
Chief Donald R. Person -
(June 8, 2003 to June 10, 2022)
Chief Person started his career with the City in 1976 as a dispatcher. Chief Person was promoted to Police Officer in September of 1979, Sergeant in 1987, and Lieutenant in 1992 before becoming Chief in 2003. His career spanned a total of 46 years with the City. Forty-three years as a sworn officer, and Nineteen years as the Chief of Police. This makes Chief Person the longest standing City employee, Police Officer, and Police Chief in the history of the City of Xenia. Among the Chief’s accomplishments are: receiving the Casey Elliott “City’s Finest” Award in 1998; maintaining the Police Division in an accredited status for almost 30 years including recognition as a Flagship agency with a Meritorious Agency designation from 2010 through his retirement; transitioned the police division from a single channel repeated radio system to a multi-channel trunked radio system; continued improvement in the training program including a new Training Facility on Ford Rd,; a new property facility on Towler Rd.; oversaw major renovations to the Police Division and Communication Center; promoted use of a single dispatch and records management software system countywide and the implementation of that program.
Chief Chris A. Stutes -
(June 13, 2022 - present)
Chief Chris Stutes began his career in law enforcement with the Xenia Police Division in March 1996 where he served as a patrol officer for 12 years. As a patrol officer, he performed specialized assignments such as Field Training Officer, Bike Patrol, Ohio Labor Council representative, a member of the Crash Response Team, and Crisis Negotiations Team. Chief Stutes was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in March of 2008. As a Sergeant, he worked primarily as a midnight shift supervisor. He also performed specialized assignments of Traffic Sergeant, Commander of the Crisis Negotiations Team and Leader of the Crash Response Team. In January of 2017, Chris was promoted to Captain. In 2022, Chris Stutes was promoted to Police Chief. He graduated from Cedarville University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology. In 2015, Chris completed The Ohio State University, John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Public Safety Leadership Academy. In addition, he graduated from the FBI National Academy, Class #278 in December of 2019 and is currently working on his Master’s degree in Justice Administration from Tiffin University. Chief Stutes received the Meritorious Service Award in 1999, the Leadership Awards in 2006, 2012, and 2014, both the Distinguished Service Award and the Casey Elliott “City’s Finest” Award in 2005.