Gratis PD joins local task force to help fight heroin problem

By Austin Schmidt -

GRATIS — During a council meeting on Thursday, Jan. 21, Gratis Police Chief Jeff King informed Gratis Village Council his department will join a three-county, 18-agency, drug task force to help fight the local heroin problem.

According to King, the Gratis Police Department will provide 6-8 hours of work a week to the task force and his department will receive the full support of the task force.

Through the partnership with the task force, King says his department will receive a portion of the drug money seized which is distributed based on the resources each department supplies to the task force.

King called the heroin issue a “growing problem” in the village, and said his department will receive hands-on training from the Gratis EMS in the use of NARCON, a drug that is used to battle narcotic overdoses.

According to King, NARCON costs $40 per dose.

Council approved Fire Chief Andy Cook’s request to donate SEB seats from the department’s old fire engine to the Camden Fire Department. Council also approved a motion to donate the truck to Butler Tech for fire training.

Council approved King’s request to make Mark Bennett a part time officer. Bennett has been an auxiliary officer with the department.

Council approved a request from EMS Chief Joan Vance for the reservation of four hotel rooms for a week-long, yearly seminar, for $3,600.

Vance reported she is hopeful the new EMS unit will be at the department by the first of February.

Vance also reported Will Harris and Justin Newton were promoted to Lt. Maintenance Officer for the EMS.

Cook reported his department went on 132 calls in 2015. Cook said it was the most calls his department has been on in several years.

Cook also reported four new applicants have applied to be volunteer firemen for the department.

The department started volunteer classes on Saturday, Jan. 23, at a cost of $375 per person. Seven individuals were expected to take the classes.

Gratis Village Council meets every first and third Thursday of the month.

By Austin Schmidt

Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.

Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.