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Published: Wednesday, 4/27/2005

Bedford Township: Trustees to study police force


TEMPERANCE - Two Bedford Township trustees plan to begin meeting next month with a specially formed committee to study whether the township needs a larger police presence on its roadways, and how best to pay for it.

Republican Rick Steiner and Democrat Larry O'Dell, both of whom were first elected to the board last November, will begin meeting May 24 with five local residents and two local public safety officials to study the township's law enforcement presence.

"We're hoping to do some research to find out what the needs are for the next 5, 10, or 15 years," Mr. Steiner said. "So many people have asked for additional police forces. We're going to see how we can get that done."

About a dozen local residents applied to be members of the newly-reformed law enforcement committee, with Mr. Steiner and Mr. O'Dell ultimately settling on five people to serve as voting members of the committee. The five - Dr. Rick Szczygielski, John Satkowski, Gerald Mullen, Marge Small, and Debbie Schneider - will be joined by township Fire Chief John Bofia and Lt. Dale Malone, the current commander of the Sheriff's Office Bedford Substation.

The committee will look at such things as the local crime rate as well as those from comparably-sized municipalities.

It will also study activity logs for the existing deputies and detectives assigned to the township's substation, their patrol habits, calls for service, and other indicators of need.

"We want to bring data forward from the substation to show the workload that they're already under.

By providing the additional [deputies], we hope to show that the deputies and detectives will be better able to work on crime prevention rather than just be reactive to it," the trustee said.

Mr. Steiner admitted that one of the main objectives of the committee's deliberations will be to determine whether a dedicated millage for law enforcement is politically feasible.

The township expends about $575,000 per year to field and equip its six current contract deputies. .

Mr. Steiner said he hopes his committee will be able to finish a study in time to put a request before voters on the August 2006 ballot.

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