OPD officers sworn in

By Kelsey Kimbler - For The Register-Herald

OXFORD – The Oxford Police Department swore in two new officers at a recent city council meeting.

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, Officers Richard Butler and Anthony Gilbert were sworn-in. They were hired on to the OPD over the past summer and have now graduated to the Field Training Officer Program, according to Chief John Jones.

Jones explained, both officers have very impressive resumes.

Butler is an U.S. Army veteran, has a psychology degree from University of Cincinnati, has training in social work, and worked at Hamilton County Corrections for a time. After having him repeat his oath, Jones had Butler’s fiance pin badge 49 onto his chest.

Gilbert is from Liberty Township. He has a degree in criminal justice and a background in sales. Jones noted, Gilbert turned away from his higher paying sales job, because he “had [police work] in his blood.” Gilbert’s father is Chief of Police in New Miami. Before joining the OPD, Gilbert worked part-time on Mt. Healthy’s police force. After repeating his oath, Gilbert’s wife and two children pinned badge 51 onto his chest.

In addition to the OPD swearing-in ceremony, council also proclaimed two special times

• A proclamation was read declaring Sunday, Oct. 2, the fourth annual Caroline Scott Harrison Day.

Harrison was born and raised in Oxford. It is where she met Benjamin Harrison and they wed in 1853. Harrison became the 23rd President of the United States in 1889. It was noted, Harrison contributed greatly as First Lady, but her actions are now overlooked. The Caroline Scott Harrison Committee works to garner her the attention they believe she deserves, as “Oxford’s First Lady.”

• A proclamation was read echoing President Obama’s declaration of Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Miami University Latin American Studies Major Lucy Thomas spoke about the proclamation. She noted, Friday, Sept. 23, was Oxford’s UniDiversity Festival. This is a festival honoring the Latino culture. She noted, the festival brings“amazing food.”

In other business, council heard from Coe Potter, a local real estate agent, who came to council regarding the issue of affordable housing in Oxford. Coe requested council employ a professional consultant to find, what he considers to be, the “gap” in affordable housing.

Coe noted, he does not know whether it is people working entry level and minimum wage jobs, or on “the other end of the spectrum” and about to retire, but he has “seen many people fight to get into the minimum available affordable housing,” as there does not seem to be enough to cover the need in Oxford.

Council member Bob Blackburn later noted, Talaford Manor, one of the few affordable housing options in Oxford, has a waiting list.

Resolutions discussed included:

•A petition to establish a neighborhood conservation overlay district for Quail Ridge Drive. Mayor Kate Rousmaniere is a resident of Quail Ridge and her name is listed on the petition, and she abstained from the matter.

The Residential Conservation Overlay District legislation was adopted “in 2012 to protect residential neighborhoods, maintain an attractive community appearance, and to provide a desirable living environment by restricting residential properties to be rented to no more than two unrelated individuals.”

• A resolution read by Chief Jones to accept the Ohio Department of Public Safety OVI grant of $224,917 which was awarded to OPD as the lead agency to fund the Butler County OVI Task Force. This grant will be distributed to 13 law enforcement agencies on a reimbursement basis.

• A resolution authorizing an agreement with Peter M. Reising to continue consulting services and to “function as the Butler County OVI Task Force Coordinator.” Jones noted, OPD doesn’t “have the man power to do this without Reising.”

• A resolution authorizing an agreement with Talawanda School District Board of Education for “cooperative use of physical facilities.” The city and school district share use of their facilities and mutually waive reservation fees. The only school this does not account for is Kramer Elementary, but officials hope to reevaluate the deal in the next year and add Kramer back in.

Council held the first reading of an ordinance regarding the city’s supplemental budget, appropriating additional funds “needed for the current fiscal year” for the “Board of Building Standards Fund,” which required an additional $6,000 and the OVI Task Force Fund’s increase of $224,917.

Council held second readings on:

• An update to the Vendors & Solicitors Ordinance of 1963. This includes a “reasonable limitation” on solicitation hours, meaning vendors could only come to a home from 9 a.m-9 p.m. If a “no solicitation” sign is posted, vendors cannot do business with that home.

• Ordinances presented by Chief Jones regarding “unclear language” as it applies to Public Safety Assistants, parking penalties, and Residential Parking Permit zones. The language has been uncluttered so police officers jobs and public restrictions are clear and easy to understand, according to officials.

Announcements made included:

•The Buckeye Boys State Program will be coming to Oxford next summer, from June 11-June 18, 2017. The program is intended to give high school juniors a taste of the college experience. They will be staying on Miami’s campus for the eight days they are in town.

The next Oxford City Council meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Oxford’s Courthouse.

By Kelsey Kimbler

For The Register-Herald