CAMDEN — Camden Village Council heard from Preble County Sheriff, Mike Simpson, during a Thursday, Oct. 6 meeting. Simpson spoke during the public participation segment of the meeting, voicing his support for the Camden police renewal levy slated to appear on the November ballot.
The levy was voted down earlier in the year, with 100 votes cast in favor, and 120 against.
“Really my purpose here is to encourage the residents of the village to continue supporting your police department,” Simpson began. “Camden is, short of Lakengren, the largest village in the community, it’s a very busy community, and it’s a very busy community as it relates to what law enforcement does here in town.
“We rely on (Camden PD) as well; they provide a lot of assistance to us. For example, tonight I have two units working the road for 425 square miles, so they are out helping us. We’re helping them, as well. I think the residents really need to think long and hard about not supporting the police department, because what you don’t want is no law enforcement in your community. This is not a time to not support what’s going on, to the point where there are no on duty units to answer calls for service. It’s extremely important.”
Simpson continued, “We are already policing villages that don’t have a police department. You’re fortunate that you do. When I say “we,’ I mean the Sheriff’s Office. We are policing communities that have part-time police departments, and we are stretched very thin. We generally go from call to call, to call to call. I think not supporting the police department is going to put the residents in a situation where they have a need for law enforcement service, whether it be an emergency or non-emergency, and they could face nobody being able to respond.”
Simpson also addressed the idea the Sheriff’s Office would take over policing in Camden.
“In an emergency situation, when nobody is able to respond down here, should the levies not pass, we will get here eventually, but we have no clue what will be going on throughout the county. We have to prioritize calls to be on, then we have an emergency in Camden. So, I really hope the residents think long and hard about that.”
Simpson also presented year-to-date data outlining resident calls from Camden for police service, comparing service requests from 2021 to 2022.
“In 2021 we came up with just over 700 calls for service, where residents themselves are calling for a police officer to respond. Now add to that traffic stops, business checks, things like that, that number goes up. We made some comparisons to West Alex and Lewisburg, like-sized villages. Camden’s call for services were 55 percent higher than West Alex PD, and 28 percent higher than Lewisburg, for 2021.”
“So that tells you there is a great need for law enforcement in this village,” Sheriff Simpson said.
According to Simpson, Camden has already accumulated 441 service requests in 2022, and as the year proceeds, he expects those numbers will “likely increase.”
“I think it would be a huge mistake for the people to not support what the police department does, because when you need somebody, you need somebody and you need them now,” Simpson concluded.
According to Council member Kate Dusky, in the last decade, through the efforts of the police department, drug offenses are down 59 percent, theft-related offenses are down 74 percent, burglaries are down 33 percent, and assaults are down by 75 percent. Council member Kelly Doran expressed, without a properly funded police department, those numbers could “go out the window.”
“You take away law enforcement, and there’s nothing here that prevents people from coming in — the drugs, people breaking into homes, thefts, things like that. There is no deterrent anymore,” Simpson said.
According to Doran, both levies combined will cost the residents approximately $0.65 a day.
Camden PD Officer Stemp added, “I just wanted to take a quick minute, on behalf of the police department, to thank Sheriff Simpson for coming out and speaking up and supporting us. It really means a lot that he supports our department. Like the Sheriff mentioned, we work hand-in-hand with his guys every day, helping them and them helping us. So, we really appreciate his support in all of our endeavors down here, the community’s support, and the council’s support.”
Camden Village Council meetings are public meetings held on the first and third Thursday of each month, at 7 p.m. at Camden Town Hall.
Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057 and follow on Twitter @NathanHoskins13.