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Local News

June 10, 2014

France Park gets new leader

Commissioners appoint retired state police officer

Cass County Commissioners appointed a retired Indiana State Police Officer as the new superintendent of France Park.

Jim Sailors, president of the commissioners, said Monday that Twelve Mile-resident Phil Oliver will be taking over the senior position at the park, describing him as a “people person” with good management skills.

Oliver said he approached the commissioners and expressed his interest after hearing the position was open. He served 31 years in the Indiana State Police, retiring in 2005. He then worked nine years for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, retiring in April.

Oliver went on to say it’s been a lot of work settling into the new position and praised the park’s staff for helping him with the transition. He has yet to set any policy yet, he continued, adding he’s looking forward to the large task of making an impact and helping the park develop.

“The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time,” he said.

The people skills he developed in law enforcement will help him interact with patrons of the park, Oliver said, while the relationships he established with local emergency agencies as an officer will contribute positively to the park’s relationship with these agencies.

Several of these agencies were present at the park Monday afternoon in the midst of a possible missing child situation at the park.

Oliver said one of the swimming beach lifeguards received word of a missing three-year-old boy, prompting staff to close down the beach.

Park staff and soon-to-arrive law enforcement officers and firefighters were unable to locate the child’s parents, however, making it difficult to validate whether or not there truly was a missing child as they deployed a boat into the park’s fishing lake and began searching the grounds, hoping for a resolution before dark.

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