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Police chief: Cops are OK with growth



Published: Sun, February 17, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The police department's 2002 budget will be about $850,000.

By NANCY TULLIS

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

COLUMBIANA -- Columbiana's change to city status last year didn't have much effect on local crime statistics, Chief John Krawchyk said.

In fact, Krawchyk didn't ask for much more in his budget for 2002 than last year.

Finance Director Mary Louise Dicken said she is still finalizing the 2002 budget, but with health insurance and other benefits added, the police department's budget will be about $850,000. The 2001 budget was about $803,000, she said.

The 1990 U.S. Census listed Columbiana's population at 4,961. The state certified the village as a city after the 2000 U.S. Census showed the population at 5,635. A population of 5,000 or more is required for an Ohio municipality to achieve city status.

Krawchyk, however, thinks the population is closer to 7,000, if not more. He said the department is handling the growth -- for now.

"We're doing OK," he said. "It's pretty much status quo. But when all these annexed areas start being developed, then that's another story."

Statistics: He said there were no major crimes in the city in 2001, and 170 fewer total arrests than the previous year. There were 65 more adult arrests than in 2000, he said.

Juvenile offenses were up 40 from 2000, but none were serious, and most juvenile cases are handled by parents and police, he said. Most juvenile offenses are routine, such as minor theft, curfew violations and mischief, he said.

Staffing: Although illness and vacation schedules sometimes make staffing a challenge, Krawchyk has promised council he won't ask for any additional full-time officers. He said any staff increases would be through hiring more part-time officers, but he doesn't plan to do that right away.

Council approved an additional full-time officer last year, bringing the full-time roster, including Krawchyk, to 12. The department employs one part-time officer.

Staffing patrol shifts has been an additional challenge because two full-time patrolmen have been on active duty with the Ohio Army National Guard, Krawchyk said.

Patrolman Wade Boley had a six-month leave for basic and specialty training that extended into part of 2001. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Patrolman Tab Bailey was assigned to security detail at a Toledo airport.

Krawchyk said Bailey is to be released from that duty in April but could then be assigned elsewhere.

Bike patrol: Bailey and Boley's National Guard service also limited the department's bike patrol activity.

Patrolman Chris Dailey said because of staffing shortages last year, the bike patrol officers were kept busy in 2001 working regular road shifts. He said they were able to operate the bike patrol only eight days last year between April 25 and Aug. 21.

The bike patrol usually patrols during special events throughout the year, and at random any day except in winter.




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