LISBON - When Mike Abraham was hired as a part-time village police officer in 1999 it was with the dream of one day becoming chief.
That dream became a reality on Wednesday when Village Council promoted Abraham to replace Chief John "Buck" Higgins, who is retiring on Dec. 31 after 32 years with the village police department.
"I'm really humbled to follow Buck. He was here a long time and did a lot of good things," he said.
Abraham, 46, comes to the job with prior chief experience, having served as police chief in Salineville from 1999 until he quit in 2005 to go full-time with Lisbon. Prior to that, he was employed with the Smith Township Police Department from 1992 to 1999, rising to the rank of sergeant.
"That's the reason I left Salineville, because I someday hoped to be in a position to be able to succeed Buck," Abraham said, after the meeting.
Abraham was among four finalists for the job, which included two fellow Lisbon officers - Lt. Fred Carlisle, who has been serving as interim chief, and Shar Daub. The fourth candidate was Mike Harty of Wellsville, who is retired from the Atlanta police department.
Mayor Dan Bing said his decision to recommend Abraham for the chief's job was difficult given the quality of the finalists. "You're all great, all great. I'm pleased to have you on the force," he told Carlisle and Daub.
Abraham will begin his chief duties immediately because Higgins is off the rest of the year collecting on his unused accumulated vacation time. "The department is running pretty good right now. I don't plan on making any immediate changes," he said.
Abraham lives outside Salineville with his wife and three children. Village code requires the chief to move into town within one year of being hired, but council can waive the requirement, which is expected to occur. Higgins also lived outside of Lisbon, as did the police chief before him.
"I'll be available 24-7. That's part of the job," Abraham said.
His promotion means another position will come open in the department, and Abraham indicated he is likely to fill the vacancy with one of their part-time officers.
As for his salary, Bing and Council President Roger Gallo said it has yet to be determined but they expect it to be about 90 percent of what Higgins was earning.
The vote to hire Abraham was 5-0, with Council member Jeff Snyder absent.