Local police gear up again for hot rod show

Officials do not expect many changes this year.
BOARDMAN -- In less than a month, hundreds of hot rods and classic cars will come roaring through the township in honor of the Hot Rod Supernationals at the Canfield Fairgrounds, and local law enforcement plans to be ready.
The hot rod show will take place from June 22 through June 24. Boardman Police Sergeant Ken Madeline said spectators and participants at the annual event traditionally flock to the U.S. Route 224 area in the evening to watch the cars cruise and to socialize. The show has been taking place since 1987.
Madeline said not much is expected to change from previous years. After 14 years of dealing with the crowds, he said, officials have gotten it all down to a science.
"I think the major difference is that we have more control, and the crowds are much more well behaved because they expect the increased police presence," he said. "Basically we are here to make sure everyone is safe and has a good time."
Every officer on the township police force will be working during the event weekend. Those not on regular patrol will be patrolling the area used by the cruisers -- mainly the 224 strip between West Boulevard and Market Street.
Officials said officer overtime and other expenses to the township would be calculated after the event. Cost for previous events have run in the area of $15,000.
Lt. Brian Girtz of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said his department will be supplying additional officers, and Major Mike Budd of the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department said deputies will patrol the area west of West Boulevard.
Budd also said a command post will be set up in the parking lot of Sky Bank on 224. From the command post, officers will be able to fingerprint and process anybody who decides to break the law. In the last few years, there have been little more than traffic citations issued, said Budd.
Ready for anything: Additional units from the fire department will be positioned at the township government building and at the command post. Ambulances will be on hand, including one at the command post.
The setup will be virtually the same as in previous years. The township road department and Ohio Department of Transportation will be posting signs in various locations to direct drivers. There will also be signs at the intersection of Market Street and 224 to warn and direct those not looking to enter the heavy traffic on 224.
No traffic will be permitted in the center turning lane of 244 between Market Street and West Boulevard. Left hand turns will only be permitted at the Market Street and Glenwood Avenue.
Officers will begin to shut down the daily activities at midnight Friday and Saturday that weekend. Sunday's activities will come to an end at 11 p.m.
Officials have also taken into consideration the annual festival at St. Charles Church on Westview Drive off 224. Madeline said no Boardman officers will be specifically assigned to the festival because of officer use for the hot rod cruising, but officers would be assigned to that general area.
Security at the festival will mainly be covered by deputies. Budd said the sheriff's department has enough available deputies to cover the influx of car enthusiasts and the festival at the church.

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