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BAZETTA Lack of weekend police worries some residents



Published: Sun, September 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The police chief said because of lack of funding he had no choice but to eliminate day patrols.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

BAZETTA -- Sheila Monteneri suddenly fears the weekends.

The single mother of three and owner of Custom Floral Designs on state Route 305 is upset and worried that township police no longer work the day shift on Saturdays and Sundays.

"I don't feel safe anymore," Monteneri said as she stood by the cash register inside her floral shop. "I have had this business for 31/2 years and during that time I never once felt threatened because I knew the cops were right around the corner, but I'm not going to have that security anymore."

Township officials announced last week that a lack of funding was forcing them to eliminate police patrols from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

They will still be on duty during the afternoon and overnight shifts.

Levies: This community, hugging the southern rim of vast Mosquito Lake, a popular recreation spot, has tried twice to get tax levies passed to generate revenue for the police department, but voters rejected both.

"We had no other choice than to cut patrols because we have no more money," said Police Chief Robert Jacola.

He noted that officials will try again in November to pass a 1.8-mill five-year levy that will bring in an estimated $257,000 a year. The department has six full-time and four part-time officers.

"We had to lay off the part-time officers because we can't afford to pay them," Jacola said.

"This is not something anyone wanted to do, but there wasn't a choice. I had to choose a time were we felt it would have the least impact on the community, however, no one can ever predict when something may or may not happen."

The chief said that if a resident needs police assistance between 7 and 3 on the weekends, they must call the Trumbull County 911 center and the sheriff's department will be alerted.

"Who knows how long it will take a deputy to get here," Monteneri said. "I'd much rather have our own department working. The officers know us and know the area."

Shop owner's view: John W. Wallace, owner of Lakeside Sport Shop on state Route 305, hasn't experienced a lot of crime, but he has had his share of thefts.

"I'm glad I haven't had any major problems, but it is a concern to me that the police officers won't be working during the day on the weekends," Wallace said.

"This is bad news because when you want a cop, it usually means you need one right away."

Darla Ortiz, a township resident who works at the sport shop, worries about her children.

"It's a pretty quiet neighborhood, but it's a concern that we won't have a police officer right here if we need one," she said.

Several residents voiced fears that without immediate police protection the township could have vandalism problems similar to those this summer in West Farmington.

Several West Farmington residents have said that a lack of full-time police protection contributed to a rash of arsons and other acts of vandalism.

"We want the township to stay safe," said Darlene Stuart of Bazetta. "I work here and come here every day. I like knowing that when I come to work early in the morning, I don't have to worry."

sinkovich@vindy.com




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