Amidst a packed City Hall chambers, including former chiefs of police and law enforcement officials from surrounding communities as well as Solon officers, Mayor Edward H. Kraus swore in the city’s newest chief of police at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Richard A. Tonelli, who was joined by family and friends, was administered the oath with wife Janice by his side. Mr. Tonelli, a resident of Solon, succeeds Christopher P. Viland who left in August after being named Cleveland’s first police inspector general, a new position that will monitor and audit Cleveland Division of Police policies.
Mr. Tonelli will be paid an annual salary of $120,000.
“I’ve been mayor for two years, and this is my proudest moment,” Mayor Kraus said. He thanked the committee members who were part of the interview process, including officers and Human Resource Director Nancy Stolarsky for their “tireless efforts.
“We had an amazing group of candidates for chief, both externally and internally,” Mayor Kraus continued. “I was blown away how strong our police department is.”
Mayor Kraus said he chose Mr. Tonelli, 59, for a lot of reasons.
“He checked all the boxes that our group was looking for in terms of a police chief,” Mayor Kraus said. Mr. Tonelli exemplified great leadership, great communications, great training and experience.
“Those were the tangible things,” the mayor said.
There are also intangible things people in the community may not know about, he continued.
“No one knows our community like Rick Tonelli,” Mayor Kraus said. “There are so many things he has done that have not been in the limelight or in the paper.”
The mayor went on to describe how Mr. Tonelli interacts with Solon school students when policing sporting events and his “tireless work with the schools, with City Council and our administration.”
He also has an intricate knowledge of the city’s business community, the mayor added.
“I was 120 percent convinced Rick was best for our community moving it forward,” Mayor Kraus said.
In attendance were former police chiefs including Mr. Viland, Wayne Godzich and Robert Bruckner.
“This ceremony here tonight is not about me, it’s about us, about team,” Mr. Tonelli said. “It’s about us all working together.”
Mr. Tonelli said he respects everyone in his department and each and every one in attendance.
“I’m overwhelmed and humbled,” he said.