By Wayne Gates –
The Georgetown Village Council approved the hiring of an eighth full time police officer at its March 23 meeting.
Police Chief Rob Freeland said that he expected to fill the position by mid-April.
“The main thing for me is that a majority of the time you are going to have two guys on every shift. The officer safety level goes way up,” Freeland said following the meeting.
“We’ve got too many holes in the schedule where we only have one officer on duty.”
Freeland said that a lack of advancement opportunity is part of the problem with relying on part-time officers.
“The attrition is high among part-time officers because they see that they aren’t going to be hired as full time right away. So you end up spending a lot of time training somebody and then they’re gone,” Freeland said.
“The state mandates that all officers are given a certain amount of training per year. So if you spend money on that training and then someone leaves, then you are out all of that time and training.”
Freeland said that a full time commitment from the village will be returned by the officer.
“A full time officer will be invested in the department and the community. He or she will know the people and get the training to do the job.”
Council approved three ordinances to finance the cost of the eighth officer.
Two of those ordinances were to move money from one budget line item to another.
The third ordnance increased the court costs in mayor’s court from $85.00 to $110.00, an increase of $25. A $25 surcharge on all processed bail bonds was also put into effect.
$39 from each court costs assessment is paid to the State of Ohio, and $5 goes to the Mayor’s Court Computer Fund, leaving $66 per assessment for the village.
The ordnance was passed as an emergency by council and is now in effect.
In other business, council also voted to assess a three percent “bed tax” on all hotels in the village with five rooms or more.
Village Administrator Art Owens reported to council that there were seven bidders for the state funded renovations to the Gaslight Theater. Bidders are now being evaluated and having references checked before a final recommendation to council.
Owens also said that Brown County has agreed to replace the bridge at Ohio and Grant streets and that the work should begin in the near future.
Owens also said that hydrant flushing will begin in the village on April 10 and run through April 14. Residents should watch for temporary brown water during that process.
Owens also said that a renovation to the police department offices was underway. A drop ceiling and new duct work is expected to increase heating efficiency in the office.
The next scheduled meeting of the Georgetown Village Council is set for April 13 at 7:00 p.m.