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Lack of police coverage concerns Boston trustees

8/22/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Julia Kazar

Public safety officials were a major topic during the Boston Board of Trustees Aug. 14 meeting.

The meeting opened with questions from the trustees to Peninsula Mayor Doug Mayer about some information that came to light a few days prior concerning lack of police officers on duty in the community. The Peninsula Police Department provides police protection to Boston.

According to Trustee Amy Anderson, several police shifts have either not been covered or have not been fully staffed. The exact number of times this has happened is not known at this time, but Anderson claims this has been happening on and off since last fall.

Mayer said he is only aware of its happening recently.

When asked why this information wasn’t shared earlier, Mayer stated he was only made aware of the issue at the Peninsula Council meeting Aug. 12.

Mayer apologized for the lack of staff and said this just illustrates the need for a permanent chief of police to handle all scheduling and avoid similar occurrences in the future. Mayer said four officers were not working due to vacation, illness and dealing with medical issues, causing some shifts not to be covered.

“I’m furious, hurt beyond belief and angry that this happened,” Anderson said. “I want to know why we weren’t told about it, and what will be done to prevent it in the future.”

Peninsula has been without a full-time police chief since 2009. [For more on that, see “Plans to hire Peninsula police chief curbed again” in the Aug. 15, 2013, issue or visit the archives at www.akron.com.]

Mayer apologized and said the incident was discussed by Peninsula Council.

“No solutions have been put in place yet,” Mayer said, “but this just further illustrates our need for a chief of police to ensure something like this doesn’t happen in the future.”

Anderson reminded trustees the contract with the Peninsula Police Department is up for renewal in December, and these incidents were a breech of contract.

Also during the meeting, Anderson announced the Valley Fire District and Boston Heights have officially signed a contract to provide 24-hour fire and EMS service to the community.

A $240,000 a year contract was signed, and Anderson said the new service should begin at midnight Sept. 1.

“This is the first time ever we will have 24-hour fire and rescue coverage,” Anderson said. “I am so excited about this.”

Seven new people have been hired to cover the extra shifts, two of whom are from Boston Heights. Two or more staff members, including a paramedic, will be available at all times.

In other business:

  • Trustee Randy Bergdorf mentioned the Peninsula Library will hold a Meet the Candidates event Oct. 24 and encouraged the public to attend and learn about the issues and candidates on the upcoming ballot.
  • The Road Department noted several road signs from the area have been stolen and must be replaced.

The next regular Boston Board of Trustees meeting will be Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the administrative offices at Boston Township Hall, located at the corner of Main Street and Riverview Road in Peninsula.

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