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Copley voters to weigh in on police levy

10/11/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

COPLEY — Township voters will see a levy for the Copley Police Department on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot.

Issue No. 55 is a 2-mill replacement levy that will bring in $954,935 annually and cost the owner of $100,000 in appraised property value $61 a year, according to Copley Fiscal Officer Janice Marshall.

The levy is a replacement rather than a renewal, but the amount brought in and the cost to property owners is the same as it would have been for a renewal, Marshall said. The levy will collect based on current property values for the three-year levy period, she added, which begins in 2013.

Police Chief Michael Mier said the levy is one of two that supports the department. The other is a 4.5-mill continuing levy.

“The money is used for police operations, such as salaries for police officers and dispatchers, and equipment,” Mier said. “The biggest expenditures are for vehicles and communications equipment and all the other equipment our officers use, as well as training, the D.A.R.E. program and Safety Town.”

The department does not receive any funding from the township’s General Fund, Mier said. Grants are used for some programs, like D.A.R.E., when available, he added.

The chief said the department currently has a staff of 29 police officers (23 full-time and six part-time), six dispatchers, one administrative assistant and one part-time youth worker who is shared with Bath. 

The department has realized some cost savings through collaboration with neighboring communities, Mier said, such as the Joint Dispatch Center.

“We have that with Norton, but we’re also looking to expand with other communities as well,” Mier said. “It helps us share costs to keep costs down. The biggest cost is equipment, and radios, 9-1-1 equipment and computerization is extremely costly. By sharing, we keep the cost down for Copley residents.”

The department also takes part in several local task forces, such as the Summit County Drug Unit. For that, a Copley officer is assigned full-time and, in return, the township gets the benefit of using the entire task force for drug investigations.

The township also participates in the U.S. Marshals Service Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to work with other agencies to share equipment and share resources to keep costs down,” Mier said.

The chief said Copley residents are fortunate that the community has an overall low crime rate and in particular a low violent crime rate. Still, growth over the past few years has led to the department keeping busy, Mier said.

“The No. 1 complaint we have had is traffic complaints,” Mier said. “We get reports of speeders and reckless drivers, so we do conduct traffic enforcement in all neighborhoods for that purpose.”

In addition, the force will do vacation checks of homes when residents are out of town and also check on elderly residents who have no local family members. The department also has a crime prevention officer who visits with residents and makes suggestions on ways to improve home security, Mier said.

The chief said the levy campaign will feature signs and informational fliers that officers will distribute in neighborhoods on their own time.

“If anybody ever has any questions about their safety or the levy, they can call me,” Mier said.

To reach Mier, call 330-666-4260.

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