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Richfield police officer promoted to sergeant

4/12/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

Richfield Police Department officer Paul Fister was promoted to sergeant at the April 3 Richfield Village Council meeting.

Fister, a Kent State University graduate, has served on the police force since 1996, according to village officials. He has been the property room custodian and jail administrator, as well as being in charge of maintaining the fleet of police cars.

Chief Keith Morgan said Fister also spent some time on the Metro SWAT team, which Morgan called a “dangerous and volatile situation, requiring a great deal of commitment and personal sacrifice.”

Fister said he was grateful for the promotion.

“The Richfield Police Department has always been good to me and my family,” he said. “I am ready to move on to the next step of my career in Richfield.”

In other news:

• Council agreed to lower the speed limit on Townsend Road from 55 mph to 45 mph. This aligns the village portion of the road with the portion in Richfield Township, for which the Ohio Department of Transportation approved a lower speed limit.

• Council agreed to declare the K-9 unit police car, a 2007 Dodge Magnum, obsolete and authorized Morgan to trade it in to help offset the cost of the department’s two new police cars. [For more on the K-9 unit, see related item in the Richfield Township Board of Trustees meeting report beginning on Page 1.]

• Mayor Bobbie Beshara announced the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio conducted a public hearing on the proposed Briarwood sewer-rate increase yesterday, April 11.

Beshara also reported 30 people attended the village’s recent seminar on wildlife education.

“We learned what to do about coyotes and why they walk around like they own the place,” she said.

Also, Beshara said the Board of Zoning Appeals has an opening for a new member, since Craig Metzler resigned.

• Morgan said the police cars now have reflective chevrons on the back to make them more visible at night.

“Three of our officers were hurt by passing cars last year,” Morgan said. “Instead of adding more lights, these chevrons will provide better depth perception.”

• Fire Lt. Bob Jones reported the department will host local fire safety inspectors for continuing education programs.

• Recreation Director Ruth Jocek reported the Easter Egg Hunt March 31 was a success.

“We hid over 2,000 eggs, and they were gone in no time at all,” she said. “We got some great compliments from parents.”

Jocek also said the recreation brochure for spring and summer will be out soon, and the Arbor Day Tree Giveaway will take place April 21 at 9 a.m. at the Town Hall pavilion.

• Planning and Zoning Director Brian Frantz reported he and Beshara will take over the economic development director duties of Ralph Waszak, who is now back on Village Council.

• Finance Director Sandy Turk reported the Summit County Budget Commission reported a lower total assessed value of village properties from $208 million to $190.3 million, resulting in a reduction of $37,000 in property tax revenue.

The good news, Turk said, is the village has enjoyed “continuous positive movement” in its income tax collection. March receipts came in at 5.6 percent higher than last year and, overall this year, collection is up 7.9 percent.

• Waszak said he recently attended a seminar in Boston Township regarding horizontal oil and gas drilling, or “fracking.” He advised residents to speak with an attorney before leasing their land for drilling.

“When you drill vertically, you go down 4,000 feet and need a 20-acre parcel of land,” he said. “When you drill horizontally, forcing water in to break up the oil and gas, the parcel has to be at least 200 acres. It’s wise to really understand the scope of the operation that would take place on your property.”

• Councilwoman Barbara Lanford said the Park Board would like Council members to attend its May 7 meeting. The board is asking for Council’s guidance on whether to move forward with a group that is looking to put together a recreation center for Bath and Richfield residents or to pursue a Richfield-based facility.

• Council passed resolutions to seek bids for the painting of Fellowship Hall and the Historic Old Town Hall.

• Council and Beshara received a letter from resident Mark Parker, who stated he was disappointed in the village’s landscaping of the easement on his Streetsboro Road property for access to Richfield Woods Park.

The next Richfield Village Council meeting is scheduled for April 17 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall, 4410 W. Streetsboro Road.

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