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GIRARD Police chief warns of declining manpower



Published: Fri, March 14, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Because of layoffs in the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department, police chiefs will see if they can help one another.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- Police Chief Anthony Ross continued to assail the city administration and council for the lack of manpower in his department.

"Things are going to hell," Ross warned at Monday's council session.

Ross, who has been attending meetings to complain, said some of his officers have been ordered to work overtime because of the shortage.

There have been some cases where officers have worked 16 straight hours, been off duty for eight hours and returned to duty for another eight hours.

"Nobody's going to move into this town without any police protection," Ross asserted.

Councilman Joseph Christopher, D-at-large, said he sympathizes with Ross and officers will be added when the city can afford them.

Adding dispatchers

Safety Director Frank Rich said the department will be adding two dispatchers by April to free up to officers for patrol duty.

"We are giving the service we can afford to give," Rich asserted.

The department has slid from 29 to 14 members because of layoffs, retirements and a long-term illnesses, Ross said.

The chief said that because of layoffs in the sheriff's department, police chiefs in the county will be getting together to determine how they might help each other.

In other business, council approved a resolution requesting that the Army Corps of Engineers partially breach Lower Girard Lake dam.

The breach calls for the removal of 121/2 feet from the top concrete portion of the dam, thus lowering the normal water level by 101/2 feet.

Lawmakers are hoping to save a portion of the aged dam so it can be rebuilt.

Pothole situation

In another matter, Christopher, chairman of the streets and sidewalks committee, complained the street department is filling potholes in the morning but not the afternoon.

Because streets are in need of resurfacing, Christopher said he wants to see part of the repaving program to begin in the summer rather than in the fall.

Also during the meeting, Jane Harris, president of the Girard Historical Society, called on the city to save the former North Avenue School building for its historical value.

Councilman Renny Palone, D-1st, had called attention last month to five structures, including the former school building, that should be razed or cleaned up.

Harris said the society is not questioning that the site of the building needs to be cleaned, but it should not be knocked down.

She asserted the building's architecture should be saved for future generations.

Harris was joined by resident Ralph Chuey in the call to save the building that was constructed in 1903.

Affecting property values?

Chuey also called on the city to impose a moratorium on single-family houses being turned into rental properties, a trend he thinks is causing a decline in property values.

Councilwoman Kathleen O'Connell Sauline, D-2nd, suggested tax credits be granted to property owners who convert residential rental units to owner-occupied homes.

Council also approved the city entering into a contract with Cold Springs Granite Memorial Group to building a 96-crypt mausoleum at Girard Cemetery.

The $100,000 mausoleum will only be constructed after enough crypts are sold to pay the construction cost.

yovich@vindy.com




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