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Hiram quickly hires new police chief
by Adam Elrod
April 10, 2013 09:28 AM | 3032 views | 4 4 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city of Hiram last week hired a new police chief who will begin work the day the current chief leaves.

Todd VandeZande, former assistant police chief in Canton, will be taking over in Hiram Monday after the departure of Chief Gary Yandura, who will become the inaugural police chief of the city of Brookhaven.

City council members voted unanimously for VandeZande at a special called meeting Thursday. The Hiram city charter gives the city manager the discretion of hiring a police chief with the council’s approval, so City Manager Robbie Rokovitz was able to move quickly to hire Yandura’s replacement.

Rokovitz selected VandeZande because of his “proven leadership and professional credentials,” according to a news release from Hiram.

“While I received a lot of interest from internal and external candidates, VandeZande has the precise combination as an academic and practitioner to serve as the chief law enforcement official of our municipal agency,” Rokovitz said in the release.

VandeZande has 23 years of experience in different metro Atlanta police departments, including Woodstock and Marietta. He was in the running for other positions with different governments, which is how Hiram found him and led to him being offered the job, Rokovitz said.

VandeZande was fired last fall from his job in Canton, but Rokovitz said the action had no bearing on his decision to recommend him for the position.

The new chief filed a lawsuit in which he stated he was wrongly terminated for not running an illegal background check for a top Canton city official.

“That litigation was justified,” Rokovitz told a reporter.

The lawsuit was to clear his name and not to gain money, Rokovitz said.

VandeZande declined comment and referred questions to Rokovitz.

VandeZande earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration, both from Kennesaw State University.

He also earned advanced law enforcement certifications from the Georgia Police Officers Standards and Training Council, and is a graduate of the University of Louisville, Southern Police Institute and Columbus State University, Professional Management Program, according to the news release.

“The men and women of the Hiram Police Department will continue to nurture the communal bonds strengthened during Chief Yandura’s tenure,” VandeZande said in a statement.
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April 13, 2013
you apparently have no idea what you are talking about. Ken ball or David Beam-are you kidding? You should study up on your facts and not comment on something you apparently have no idea what you are talking about. Give VandeZande a fair chance and we'll see whether or not Hiram made the right choice. They apparently have been making some very good choices in everything they have addressed lately. Time will tell and we will see if this is a good choice for Hiram.
April 17, 2013
David Beam & Ken Ball are outstanding commanders well respected by their peers and those who work for them. Canton rank and file couldn't stand Interim Chief Vandazande and were glad he was shown the door. It's also a fact that the new Chief was terminated twice by Marietta and once by Canton.
April 10, 2013
Canton's loss is Hiram's gain!
April 11, 2013
Todd Vandazande was not only terminated from Canton, but was fired twice and demoted once while working in Marietta. Had he not had a liberal Civil Service board his career would have ended 14 yrs ago. Now he will argue that he is a victim of bad luck or he was being singled out,if true he sure is unlucky,"rolls eyes". Three terminations and one demotion in 23 yrs? Is This the best Hiram can do? Ken Ball"chief of police Holly Springs"or David Beam " Asst Chief Marietta Police" both Paulding County residents are way more qualified and have served longer and with less baggage than a guy that has sued his last 2 employers.
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