Camden council discusses traffic concerns, Citizen Police Academy

By Anthony Baker -

CAMDEN — Village of Camden council members discussed traffic-related concerns during their bi-monthly meeting June 6.

Council voted unanimously to pay Sidney-based Choice One Engineering $18,500 to conduct a traffic study at the junction of U.S. 127 and Ohio 725, as well as to solicit grant funds from the Ohio Department of Transportation to improve infrastructure around the intersection if need be.

During last month’s meeting, village administrator Rusty Wilson proposed installing two speed bumps within the village: one on South St. between U.S. 127 and S. Liberty St., and the other on Bloomfield St. between 127 and N. Liberty St. The move was intended to address concerns expressed by council members that vehicles entering Camden from U.S. 127 tend to do so fast and recklessly. At that time the issue was tabled for further discussion.

During the June 6 meeting, however, council member Judy Michael complained a temporary speed bump had already been installed on the street where she lives.

“I’m opposed to it, and I don’t like that it was done after it was tabled,” Michael said.

Wilson claimed some residents have given him positive feedback about the bumps.

“I’ve heard nothing but positive comments,” Wilson said.

Michael claimed to have heard complaints from other residents, however, including comments posted to the city’s Facebook page, while councilman Wendell Mackie said he’d like to see even more bumps on the city’s residential streets, claiming he often sees drivers coming off U.S. 127 rolling through stop signs or even disregarding them entirely.

“I was elected to do what’s best for the safety of my community, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Mackie said.

Councilman Kelly Doran proposed leaving the temporary bumps in place for a while and allowing community members to voice their concerns as they see fit.

“To me that’s a better test of ‘will it work’ or ‘will it not work’ than putting something in permanent,” Doran said.

Michael stuck to her guns regarding procedural issues, however.

“Next time something is tabled for further discussion, that should be the end of it,” Michael said. “Not come home and find out it’s already been installed.”

Camden Police Chief Matt Spurlock promised to have officers stationed near the U.S. 127 junction and other problem intersections to see whether drivers really are disregarding stop signs.

Spurlock also announced the start of a weekly “Citizen Police Academy.” Taking place Tuesday nights between June 18 and July 23 from 6 until 8 p.m. at Camden Town Hall, the free sessions are open to those over 18 who live or work in the Camden area, and will explore such topics as police equipment and uniforms and procedures regarding traffic stops. One session will include a “mock crime scene” so that officers can demonstrate how they process forensic evidence.

“We hope it bridges the gap a little better between police and the community,” Spurlock said.

Finally, Doran once again asked council members to submit ideas to him for potential grant-funded projects, and said grants and funding specialist Susan Laux, of Greenville-based Mote & Associates Inc., would be present during council’s next meeting to discuss the grant application process.

The Village of Camden council’s next meeting will take place Thursday, June 20, at Camden Town Hall.

By Anthony Baker