Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Chief would like to add officer

Fort Recovery

By William Kincaid
FORT RECOVERY - Police Chief Jared Laux wants the village to hire another officer to strengthen the department's ability to respond to escalating calls for service.
Laux on Monday night asked village council members to consider employing a third full-time officer to help with increased activity and to provide relief to the two-man crew's rotation.
An additional officer's wages and benefits - along with cell phone charges, radio fees, ammunition, training, etc. - would cost about $45,000 a year, plus an initial $2,000 for a gun, vest and uniforms, according to Laux.
The Fort Recovery Police Department consists of Laux and patrol officer Brandon Wyerick.
"Have you had a lot of issues that you think we need a third officer?" Mayor Roger Broerman asked.
"We're seeing more calls for the school," Laux replied. "(Also), break-ins aren't going to get any better because drugs are getting worse.
"There's only two of us right now," he said. "You can only cover so many hours."
The Mercer County Sheriff's Department responded to calls at Fort Recovery schools last week because no one from the police department was available, Laux pointed out.
Earlier in the meeting, Laux also said he is investigating multiple break-ins in the village, including one at K&L Tractor Sales.
Laux said Wyerick and he have children and try to cover as many hours as possible. It's not practical or affordable to have a baby-sitter on call, he said.
"It's not the same as it was years ago," Laux said. "Times have changed, and I think it's time we change, too."
Laux said the recent calls from the school involved kids losing their tempers and leaving school grounds.
"Emotional issues where the teachers are having to restrain people (that) they need our help with," Laux said. "There's multiple, multiple issues like that."
Obviously the police department can't handle every call, even with three police officers, Laux said. But an extra officer would enable the department to handle a majority of the calls during business hours, Laux said, adding the schools, banks and pharmacy are always areas of concern.
Laux recommends hiring a full-time officer, because it's not easy to find someone for part-time work.
Council members at the meeting neither supported nor disapproved the request.
Councilman Dave Kaup said the request didn't have to be decided on Monday night.
"I wanted to bring it to everybody's attention," Laux said. "This is something I thought a lot about."
Now is the time to hire, as an officer could be trained during the summer festival season and be ready for the next school year, Laux said.
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