Bethel Police Chief John Wallace told the village council Monday, May 14 that his department has been working with kids in local schools to promote police work to children.
“We’ve been participating in the Bethel schools career days, and in the case of the middle school some job shadowing,” said Chief Wallace. “We encourage the little kids to study hard, make their moms and dads proud of them and stay in good shape to become a cop. We had three students from the middle school shadow me, and it was odd that one girl had no desire to be a cop, but wanted to get into CSI. As luck would have it, that day I had to go to the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office to drop off evidence. She was able to talk to some of my friends there and find out how boring the CSI world truly is. That was pretty beneficial.”
In support of the department, councilwoman Donna Gunn requested that two aging cruisers be replaced soon, to avoid as much extra costs due to maintenance as possible. She also suggested purchasing an economy car to give officers and village employees a cheaper way to run long-range errands.
“We have two cruisers that are in really bad shape, getting really bad gas mileage and drinking oil and sounding terrible, requiring a lot of maintenance,” said Gunn. “If finance can look in the fund and see what can be appropriated, for at least one vehicle, and I suggest that, since there are a lot of trips made out of town, if the village could look into buying some kind of economy car. It would be a lot better on gas.”
The council also heard from administrator Michael Shiverski, who said that there had been some vandalism issues in town.
"There have been several benches at the walking trail that have been vandalized, most beyond repair," said Shiverski. "We're going to file a complaint with our insurance company to have those replaced, as we've had a number of complaints from regular users. The street department said they have been getting about a call a day."
The council also announced that the building maintenance code is nearly complete, and received praise from county officials as being a solid document. The council did receive some complaints, however, from audience member Russ Whitley who complained about the slow progress of grant work to replace the aging traffic light system serving the town.
"This projected timeline of 2010 for the traffic signals, is there anything we can do to shorten it?" asked Whitley. "The traffic is heavy, and if you try to go either way through the signals, if there are any left turns, only one car can get through."
Expediting the process, however, could be tricky, said councilman Tim Cherry.
"About the only thing you can do to expedite it is pay for it out of your own pocket," said Cherry.
Shiverski offered to contact the state in the hopes of seeing the project bumped up to an earlier date, but said that late 2009 may be the earliest they could expect to see the project begin. The project is expected to cost $135,000. Whitley was unimpressed.
"I asked if we could get a loan, but somebody said it would hurt the grant," said Whitley. "We're building this new building, but the traffic is increasing. We need to do something about it. I don't feel we should wait until 2010 to fix this."