Matthew Byers retires as Madison Township police chief

Mar. 18—Matthew Byers has officially wrapped up his tenure as Madison Township police chief.

Township trustees, at their March 14 meeting, accepted Byers' resignation, which took effect March 15.

On Jan. 24, Byers announced his plans to retire, wrapping up a 29-year career with the Madison Township Police Department. He was promoted from sergeant to chief on July 24, 2015.

"It has been an eventful almost eight years," Byers said.

During the March 14 meeting, Byers saluted three different groups of people who helped him to succeed as chief.

First, Byers praised township Trustees Peter Wayman, Kenneth Gauntner Jr. and Max Anderson Jr.

"I've served for the same three trustees that entire eight years, and I can say honestly that that's made a huge difference," he said. "I probably would not have stayed here for eight years if it wasn't for the political situation that we've had."

Byers said he's maintained close friendships with other police chiefs throughout the county, and some of those colleagues have shared details with him about having difficult working relationships with government leaders in their communities.

Along with complimenting trustees, Byers said he enjoyed working with township Administrator Tim Brown, Solicitor Gary Pasqualone and Fiscal Officer Terry Gerred-Ditchcreek.

"Administratively, it's been an outstanding situation," he said.

In regard to the the Police Department, Byers recalled something that was told to him by his friend Troy Hager, who serves as Perry Village police chief.

Hager said that a police chief's legacy is the people whom he or she leaves behind.

"And if that is the case, then I'm very proud of my legacy here," Byers said. "I think that we do have an outstanding group of officers."

Finally, he expressed his gratitude to the Madison Township community for its backing of the police department.

"We have a fantastic community that supports us very strongly," he said.

Byers joined the Madison Township Police Department in 1994 and rose to the rank of sergeant in 2002.

During his time as police chief, he attended and graduated from the FBI National Academy and served on the Lake County Narcotics Agency Board. He also is a past president of the Lake County Association of Chiefs of Police.

Gauntner commended Byers on the leadership he provided.

"You've been an asset to this township," Gauntner said to Byers during the March 14 meeting. "I've had the opportunity as township administrator to work with two prior chiefs back in the '80s, and then yourself and Lenny DelCalzo (Byers' predecessor), and you've stood among the best that we've had here. The job you've did for us here has been very much appreciated by me."

Trustees have selected township Lt. Elizabeth Rousch to serve as acting chief until they hire a successor to Byers. Plans also call for Rousch to return to her regular duties as lieutenant after a new police chief is appointed.

Byers expressed confidence that the police department will function smoothly under Rousch's direction.

"This is not the first time that she's been acting chief," he said. "In 2018, she was acting chief for a couple of months while I was out of state. I don't anticipate any issues whatsoever with her running the day-to-day operations."

Although Byers has retired as chief. he's not leaving law enforcement. He has accepted a new job within the Lake County Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau.