By: Timothy Kays
If you live in Williams County, you probably know who he is. If you live in Pioneer, Ohio, you definitely know who he is. Tim Livengood is the living, breathing epitome of the old aphorism, “If you want something done, give it to someone who is busy.”
He is the Chief of Police of the Village of Pioneer, a job that he has done so well, he received the Williams County Prosecutor’s Office Top Cop Award this past March. He is also a member of the North Central Local Board of Education. There is one thing that you might not know about him, but you really should…he is a proud veteran.
Tim Livengood is a dedicated family man, and family is etched into his very foundation. “I describe my family as my foundation,” he said. “My wife, Dareth Lea Livengood, is my rock and has been right by my side every single day. She is my best friend, my life partner, and my biggest supporter. My wife and I have no children together, however, I have 5 children (Noelle 26, Nicholas 22, Anthony 16, Emily 12, and Kayla 11).”
“I am very proud of all of my children; however, due to my professions of law enforcement and military, I have not always been able to be physically present, but they are always in my thoughts and in my heart. I also have been blessed with two stepchildren from my wife Dareth (Lily 14 and Cash 12). All of my children are simply amazing, and they all make me very proud, not only of their accomplishments day in and day out, but for being thoughtful and kind people.”
If you are wondering how he is able to multitask so well at such a high level, Tim has had a lot of practice, beginning with his youth. “I was raised in Bryan, Ohio, by my mother and father, James and the late Kathy Livengood,” he said. “I was adopted as a baby and was blessed to be placed into a home that had so much love, that many never even knew my brother and I were adopted. We were, and are, family.”
“Growing up, I participated in the Bryan Swim team, Bryan Diving team, South Toledo YMCA diving team, and still found time to play flag football. As I grew older, I became more and more involved with additional programs in school and out of school such as 4-H, Junior Achievement, and different athletics. I attended elementary school at the St. Patrick Catholic School through the 6th grade and 7th grade.”
“I then attended Bryan Junior High, followed by attending Bryan High School. I am a 1987 graduate of Bryan High School where I lettered in Varsity wrestling and football. There was a time when I strongly considered attending college directly after high school, and I considered attending The University of Bowling Green to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice. I have always known that I needed to do something that allowed me to serve people, and little did I know the route I was going to take at that time.” The course he chose proved to be a huge blessing to more people than he could have imagined.
Tim recalled, “I was approached by an Army recruiter who encouraged me to ‘Be all I can be’, and urged me to consider joining the U.S. Army as an infantryman. I was not so sure that was the route I wanted to take, but rather a direction that would allow me to pursue my career in law enforcement. Much to my father’s disliking, I had permission from my mother to continue to speak with an Army recruiter.”
“I did continue to speak with that Army recruiter, and he helped me to secure a position in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps through the delayed entry program in 1986. In the summer of 1987, I left home for the very first time and found myself on a plane for Ft. McClellan, Alabama. I joined the Army because it was in many ways a part of our family history. My Uncle Dave Livengood was in the Air Force.”
“My Grandfather Denver Livengood was in WWII, and my Uncle “Red” Forest Siebenaler was in WWII and Korea, so it was just in my family’s blood to serve in this capacity. It was twofold for me as I really wanted to join the Army to be a part of something bigger, as well as a personal challenge for me. I was up to that challenge, and as a bonus, the Army would pay for my college. What a bargain; I was following in my family’s history of service before me, and I would also gain an education. I received a unique education in the military that I will never forget.”
Tim Livengood was on his way up. “I entered the United States Army in 1987,” he recalled, “…and served until 2004. The majority of my service time was during the Cold War Era; however, I did participate in some vital operations during the First Gulf War and Desert Storm. A portion of my service time was spent in the U.S. Army Reserve located in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Over the course of my career with the U.S. Army, I spend time with the MP Company USARMC, Ft. Knox, Kentucky, 529th MP Company, Heidelberg, German (USAREUR HQ), Ft. Sheridan, Illinois, and had opportunities during the course of my Army career to travel the world and serve in several different operations to include Japan.”
“During my time in the Army Reserve, I was mobilized and set to deploy to the Iraq/Afghanistan area, however, my battalion was ultimately diverted and deployed to GTMO (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba). I suffered a lower back injury during pre-mobilization and ultimately was sent to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for treatment and care. Since I was the Senior Sergeant First Class, I was put in charge as acting 1SG (First Sergeant) of two medical hold detachments. I was responsible for their care and treatment to see that they were getting the treatment they needed and ensuring their needs were met.”
“This was my first experience specifically responsible for helping many wounded warriors as they returned from duty. I never saw hostile action over the course of my Army career; however, as part of the United States Army Military Police Corps, there were situations that were observed and dealt with that one cannot unsee or undo. I was part of special reaction teams, Military Police Investigations, and attained training and certification as an At-Scene Traffic Accident Investigator through Northwestern Traffic Institute. I was also inspired as I worked with many soldiers suffering from PTSD, and that would become a precursor to my personal mission in life not only within the Army, but later on as it related to civilian law enforcement.”
Looking back, Tim recalled his military service, and the bonds that were created during that period that time cannot diminish. “I have a lot of great memories of my service days,” he said; “…bonds that were created with young men and women that chose a life of service like myself. We have bonds that will never be broken, and families that will be forever connected for the remainder of my life. The military is a brotherhood that I can’t really explain.”
“One quote that I will forever remember is that, ‘Not all families are related by blood, but by God.’ I still meet with my military MP family yearly as we have done over the last 30 years, and it is like we never separated from one another. We are always there for each other through thick and thin.”
“One of those great memories,” he continued, “…might be the time we were convoying to a training site in Germany and for years and years, we trained to observe Russian or Soviet vehicles, rank and Russian soldiers themselves. We pulled into a rest stop, and dismounted our vehicles so that we could visit the latrine as it was a long ride to Baumholder, Germany. As we exited our vehicle, we found ourselves face to face with Soviet soldiers, and if there was ever a moment that we trained for that we were not sure what to do from that point…this was it. American and Soviet Superpowers stood face to face and stared at one another for what seemed like an eternity, but was only a few moments. We all had stern faces on and just stared at one another, and finally a battle buddy and I walked forward with our Lieutenant and extended our hands as a gesture of peace. We had no idea what they were saying to us, and it was very likely the same for them. We smiled as we glanced at one another, and then we began to share items that each of us had in our possession as a token of peace towards one another. This was a day I will never forget. No doubt there were many more good memories, but sometimes they were overshadowed by some of the not-so-pleasant memories.”
Tim went on to recall, “During my time in service, I witnessed some horrific fatal accidents, and many of those sights and sounds never leave you. There were times where my partners and I were shot at, involved in breaking up fights, and even had firearms put in our faces. One of the worst memories was the day prior to leaving Germany. We were celebrating those that were getting ready to leave Germany for other duty stations.”
“That night a group of German radicals stormed the front gate near our kaserne (German term for barracks) in which we lived, and fights broke out all over the installation. The German Police (Polizei) along with our own Military Police responded to restore peace to the installation. By night’s end, many officers were injured or hospitalized fighting this radical group that we later learned simply did not like U.S. soldiers. I was young at that time and had seen everything from the births of babies to felonious assaults involving weapons. I learned quickly to make a decision at an early age; a few decisions some never make in a lifetime. I grew up quickly, but I was also thankful for the experiences the Army taught me during my years in the service.
What did the U.S. Army teach him while he was enlisted? Tim explained, “The military taught me a lot of things over the course of my career. The first thing that the military does is to break you down, teach you not to think as an individual but rather as a team, and then build you back up, shaping you as a U.S. Army soldier. They taught me to adapt and overcome in times of adversity. They taught me to make sound and timely decisions.”
“They taught me to take responsibility for my actions and ultimately, they prepared me to defend this great nation as part of a cohesive team. The military taught me to be a leader of men and women through training and experience. The military gave me the tools needed to be successful within my respective career fields, and those are tools that I carried with me into my civilian law enforcement profession.”
“The United States Military has helped to mold me into who I am today,” Tim continued. “I was first promoted into a leadership position in the early 1990’s, and I have held position of leadership or supervision in one aspect or another for over 25 years. What I have learned since that first promotion is that a great leader never stops learning. While experience plays a large role in growing as a leader, being open to change, staying positive through adversity, and thinking situations through before acting are all very important characteristics I have learned.”
Looking back at his experience, Tim has some strong opinions about military service for the young men and women of today. “I would highly recommend a career in the military to today’s youth,” he said. “One learns an awful lot about one’s self through the sacrifices of military service. If not the military, then some type of service to the community is encouraged. However, I am a bit biased as it relates to military service.”
“I feel every young man and woman should serve at least 2 – 4 years in the service, if possible. The military offers a great foundation to provide self-discipline, guidance, direction, life skills, a trade, and a possible formal college education if they so desire. Military service also offers the opportunity to travel and ultimately, a sense of pride knowing they have served this great nation. One does not necessarily have to serve in a combat role, however many who serve in the military believe it is an honor to fight with their brothers and sisters for this great nation, knowing many amazing people served in combat to preserve the freedoms we cherish today.”
“I salute all who served before me. I salute those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us to be free and live in the best country in the world. I highly recommend our youth to challenge themselves; grow personally and professionally while they serve. I often wonder if I had made an impact on the youth and yet, my son Nicholas D. Livengood is currently serving and has just returned from his first tour in Afghanistan. I couldn’t be more proud of my son, and I hope he too inspires others to serve this great nation.”
As hard as it is to believe, there are actually those in the business community who for some reason see veterans as people whose natural skill set has been diminished by the military. One only needs to see the high profile life of Pioneer Chief of Police Tim Livengood to completely debunk that flawed and baseless theory. “It is my opinion that prior military service is advantageous to those seeking a career in law enforcement,” Tim said.
“While some agencies are a little more lax, many agencies follow a paramilitary type of structure, and having experience in the military helps young men and women transition to law enforcement. Many of the same traits and lessons taught in the military are necessary in law enforcement. As a chief of police, I see many of those traits during the interview process.”
“Self-confidence, self-discipline, professional bearing, and dedication to service are all traits ANY administrator looks for and seeks out when vetting potential candidates for open positions. A sense of duty, honor, esprit de corps, and an ambition to be part of something bigger than one’s self is evident on almost every prior military member pursuing a career in law enforcement.”
It has been more than three decades since Tim Livengood answered the call to, ‘Be all that he could be.’ Through the education provided through his service to America, and his subsequent education from the lessons of life, each day provides Tim new opportunities to, ‘Be all that he can be.’ He takes on those challenges every day with the drive and dedication of a United States Army veteran, and the citizens of Pioneer, Ohio, are the direct beneficiaries.
Timothy can be reached at email@example.com