EATON — The Eaton Police Division gave its mid-year update at Eaton City Council’s Monday, June 20, meeting.
Between Jan. 1, and May 31, officers and dispatchers handled 3,385 citizen calls for public safety services. Officers also initiated 2,436 items of activity, for a combined total of 5,821 events of activity.
Of the total public safety calls received in the first five months of 2016 by EPD dispatchers, 1,265 were for Emergency Medical and/or Fire Services, and 1,236 calls were received as a 9-1-1 call.
Each month’s call volume thus far has been below 2015’s monthly numbers, according to officials.
Between Jan. 1 and May 31, officers of the Eaton Police Division issued 69 traffic citations. Each citation corresponds to a violation of City or State traffic laws. A majority of the citations stemmed from 280 traffic stops and 99 motor vehicle accidents during the first five months of 2016.
In the first five months of 2016, Eaton Police officers responded to 99 motor vehicle crashes, 27 less than the 126 crashes officers responded to during the first five months of 2015. Ten involved private property, 72 were injury-free, 17 involved injuries, 55 involved traffic offense citations, and three were OVI incidents.
The first five months of 2016 saw 40 burglary/breaking and entering cases. This year in general has seen a sharp increase in thefts and burglaries, as well as auto thefts.
Through May 2016, the city saw 104 drug related incidents and one case of a drug lab. The entirety of 2015 saw 143 drug cases and three labs.
Sergeant Eric Beeghly spoke about SAPP (Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership), a countywide organization formed earlier this year to combat the region’s drug epidemic.
“We have representation from the prosecuter’s office, probation, the police, the Mental Health Recovery Board, and the sheriff’s department,” Beeghly said, “and all the school superintendents are members as well. We meet and talk about the drug problem, how we can speed up the recovery process, outreach programs we can do.”
Sgt. Beeghly also spoke about the popular town hall meetings SAPP has held.
“We would go to different schools,” he said, “and in the morning, myself and Chief Deputy Spitler or the sheriff would talk to students about drugs and what we see in law enforcement. Someone in recovery would talk about their struggle and what they do in their sobriety, and how to get help. And then, that night, we’d have a town hall meeting for parents and community members. We’ve had over 100 people at every one, and we had over 200 at the one in New Paris at National Trail. It showed us that the community is concerned about this.”
The Police Division plans to have a community meeting at the end of July; they also plan to continue outreach programs for area schools, and to continue partnering with the community and other law enforcement agencies to reduce thefts and drug issues.
This summer, the Eaton Police Division received grant money to launch a bicycle helmet program. Sgt. Beeghly met with second graders at East Elementary, gave a talk about bike safety, and distributed helmets to each second grader.
At the meeting, Mayor Dave Kirsch commended pastor Jonathan Grubbs of Eaton First Church of God and his congregation for the church’s Impact Day effort in May which saw church members working to clean up the community.
“Whereas, each year,” his proclamation read, “springtime brings along not only warmer weather and sunshine, but a long list of springtime tasks. The City of Eaton, with its many beautiful parks and properties, also has that list in hand. But, Spring of 2016 brought a welcome surprise; and,
“Whereas, Pastor Jonathan Grubbs and a multitude of the devoted congregation of the Eaton First Church of God generously extended a helping hand to the City to spruce up various areas around town….did they ever spruce it up and in short order! Having declared it “Impact Day” that Sunday morning, May 29, the church families did much more than attend Church, going out into their community and making an impact, laboring at the much-needed weeding, mulching, painting and cleaning up.
“Now, therefore, I, David M. Kirsch, Mayor of the City of Eaton, Ohio, along with Eaton Councilmen and on behalf of City staff and residents, do hereby proclaim a heartfelt “Thank You!” to the Eaton First Church of God for their contribution in making Eaton a better—and more beautiful—place to call home. Sharing your walk of faith in such a sincere and generous manner is truly an inspiration to us all.”
At the meeting, council also voted to adopt 2017’s tax budget, and to execute a contract for solid waste collection and disposal and commingled recyclables with Rumpke of Ohio, Inc. The contract sees a 3 percent increase from last year’s due to an according increase in regional operation costs for Rumpke.