2008-09-27 / News

Council hears questions about police call

By Scott Rawdon

THORNVILLE - Some Thornville residents wondered who was along for the ride when a Thornville police officer responded to a call. Resident John Palmer visited Monday's Thornville Village Council meeting, telling council members when Thornville Sergeant Craig Garver (Chief Nick Garver's brother) responded to a call involving Palmer and several others Sept. 5, Garver had a "ride-along" passenger, Chad Moore, who is interested in police work.

"We asked (Moore) politely to give his name," said Palmer, who said Moore refused to do so and Palmer thought he seemed "stand-offish."

Chief Garver, present at Monday night's meeting, said he wasn't sure that a passenger is required to give his or her name.

Chief Garver said from what he could tell, there was no unreasonable conduct between officers, passengers, and residents during the incident. "There was no issue," he said, adding Sgt. Garver commented that, "people were decent." "I think everything that happened that night was reasonable," said Chief Garver.

Basically, Palmer has an access easement across property owned by developer Nathan Glick so Palmer "can get from Point A to Point B," said Village Administrator Ron Koehler. Palmer said people are using the easement without his permission to cross Glick's property. Palmer tried to stop people from using the easement by placing a concrete culvert across the easement as a barrier.

Koehler said Glick's land, which hosts the Thornhill residential development, is annexed into the village, but its streets are not dedicated to the village. Police will enter the property when called, and someone who saw Palmer moving the culvert material called police. Koehler said the village police pressed no charges against Palmer following the incident, however Glick could sue Palmer for trespassing and for theft because he moved the concrete culvert material, which is supposed to be used for construction, not as a traffic barricade. Palmer said Monday night that he believed everyone understood he had the right to be on the property.

Patrick said Tuesday it really isn't within council's responsibilities to discuss that type of situation because it's not administrative. She said the situation could've been cleared up quickly if the parties called her directly. "When you have the facts, it takes the fun out of the rumor mill," said Patrick.

Monday night, a resident asked Chief Garver how the police can stop vehicles for having loud exhaust systems when there is no village law defining how loud is too loud. The resident added that he was stopped for having a loud exhaust system, but he wasn't cited.

Council member Ron Dittoe said he thought it was odd that the police are pulling over vehicles for loud exhaust.

Garver said an excessively loud exhaust is based on the officer's judgment, but it would help if the village bought him a decibel meter. Anyone who believes he or she was improperly cited may challenge the ticket in Mayor's Court.

Koehler said he believes a loud exhaust is defined by any noise unreasonably louder than normal operating levels.

In other council news:

• Dana Patrick, a former council member who is not related to Mayor Patrick, was reappointed to council to fill the remainder of former council member Charlie Hale's term. Mayor Patrick said Dana Patrick's knowledge of village procedures and her experience made her an obvious choice. Mayor Patrick appointed Dana Patrick to the position because no one applied within 30 days of Hale's resignation.

• Koehler said the village would run a water line across Church Street to the site of a proposed new fire station for the Thornville-Thorn Township Fire Department. The village will waive the tap fee for the department whenever the station is built. "That's taxpayer money," he said. It doesn't make sense, said Koehler, for a public entity to charge a tap fee to another public entity using tax dollars. "We need to have the village, the township, and the county work together more often," he said. The new station will pay the same rate as any other village customer.

• Wednesday, Koehler said the new sewer system, recently installed along Honey Creek Road, probably wouldn't be connected to Thornville's sewer plant until the end of the year, or even next spring. He said the piping route between the collection system and the village's sewer plant changed, and applying for all the proper permits is taking time.

• Council member Lynne Snider said it will cost $29,449 to refurbish the Thornville Pool; the village already has $12,000 appropriated. She was clear that the Moose Lodge donates all the money used for the pool service. Some council members commented that Moose Lodge money also goes to the police department and it was difficult to secure $9,000 for police cameras.

• Beggar's Night in Thornville is Oct. 30, 6 to 7:30 p.m., and yard decoration day is Oct. 28.

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