Two months after opening their doors and one month after patrols began in ernest, the Wayne Township Police Department discovered something: they are definitely busy.
The new department, made possible through a general fund expenditure granted by the township trustees, has already logged an impressive number of calls, is operating beyond the capacity originally planned and is looking to expand, said Chief Joseph Mullins.
“We have three officers and we’re looking to put some more on,” said Chief Mullins. “The department formed on June 1, and we really hit the road hard when everything came in on June 17. The trustees put money back from the general fund for this, but there will be a levy in November for 1.75 mills.”
The new department currently operates with two part-time officers and the chief, patrolling in two cars with one car on the road during every shift.
“We’re slated to run 12 hours a day, but we’ve been running 16 or more,” said Chief Mullins. “We have been hopping.”
Previously, and for some time, the township was patrolled by deputies from the Clermont County Sheriff’s Department, which will continue to have a steady presence in the township. Chief Deputy Rick Combs said that the township has been under their protection for as long as there has been a township. Now, the deputies will help out in certain instances and fill in when there is no officer on duty.
“It was our original understanding that they were going to patrol about 72 hours a week, and then we were going to go an fill in when they weren’t patrolling,” said Chief Deputy Combs. “For the last 150 years or so, as long as that’s been a township, we’ve had that responsibility. We’ve worked with them on deployment issues and when to have people in the area. We don’t want the citizens to suffer from any lapses in coverage. We want it to be seamless so there is no lack of law enforcement for immediate response.”
According to Combs, the sheriff’s office will become involved when certain crimes are committed that require more manpower, expertise or equipment than the new police department is able to provide. Homicides, kidnappings, rapes and serious instances of child abuse will continue to fall under the jurisdiction of the Clermont Sheriff’s Department.
“All of the major crime issues will be investigated by us, because we’re set up for it right now,” said Chief Deputy Combs. “We’re trying to make sure they’re covered and get their law enforcement needs taken care of.”
Mullins said that the arrangement is a good one for the township. However, he also said that the township would like to grow to the point where they would be less dependent on outside help. A November levy could help the department by providing more training and equipment. A plan to hire three or four new officers, said Mullins, may go ahead soon without the aid of the levy. However, the extra money would definitely help.
“The levy would definitely ease a lot of issues, things we need to get done,” said Chief Mullins. “If the levy passes, we’ll cover more hours. It would make things easier to do. We’re at 90 reports already. We recovered 36 marijuana plants, closed out two burglaries already and filed charges. There is definitely a need for a police department out here. The sheriff’s department gives us a lot of backup.”
The hope, said Mullins, is to become a full-time department with the equipment and expertise necessary to do whatever job is at hand.
“When we’re not on, the sheriff’s department will handle our calls,” added Chief Mullins. “They’ve been real good to us, they’re an excellent department. They’ve helped us out. They will continue to handle the serious crime, because, as most small departments, we’re not able to take them on just yet. What we can do in the future depends on that levy. We do want to put full-time officers on and become a full-time department.”