Response time addressed at Neighborhood Watch meeting

By ZAK GRIMM

“A lot can happen in three to five minutes, and typically, that’s about how long it takes us to respond–from the time Dispatch receives the call, to the time it takes them to send us out. So do whatever you can to contact us as soon as possible, after you’ve seen something,” said Fredericktown Police Department Patrolman Ronny Flynn.

Flynn joined Lieutenant Kyle Johnson, Patrolman Rene Joris, and Auxiliary Officer Joshua Jackson at the monthly March Neighborhood Watch meeting for the residents of Fredericktown.

Flynn’s comment came from a recent call concerning a suspicious individual, wearing a black hoodie, seen at the Chevrolet dealership near the Bell Stores property. Given that earlier in the year, individuals were caught stealing tires from a new Chevrolet Colorado truck on display, and the time frame of the call, Fredericktown Police responded quickly.

According to Patrolman Rene Joris, a cleaning crew regularly visits after-hours, but the time of the call did not reflect that likelihood. Upon arrival, Joris did not locate whomever the individual was, or where he or she had gone.

Residents were concerned about the number of calls that had come in during the past month, and asked what more they could do to help.

“Just continue to be more observant, and don’t hesitate to call us, whatever your concern is,” said Lieutenant Johnson. “Like I’ve said before, we’d rather respond to false alarms than not respond at all, and have it be something serious. You never know what small thing can be the key to a bigger problem, that we may know about, or we may not, yet.”

Residents mentioned further concerns about particular individuals still speeding down Arrowhead Drive, as well as an incident in which a sizeable amount of trash was found strewn all over the road. In that particular case, Fredericktown Police responded, and were able to search the refuse to locate a piece of mail, which they used to contact the individual responsible, and had that person come and properly dispose of their mess.

Patrolman Flynn answered a question about an arrest made, which turned out to be an individual whom had repeatedly been “misusing the 9-1-1 service,” in the past, and had decided to continue to do so. It is common knowledge that this type of behavior can keep true emergency calls from being addressed by the Knox County Dispatch Center.

Residents were also questioning the large number of “Juvenile Complaints” listed in Geocode 3. This, said Johnson, is likely because Fredericktown Schools is in Geocode 3, and those types of complaints are addressed, mainly in-house, by School Resource Officer Kirk Tranchita, whom is a regular presence within the building, keeping a watchful eye on the students of each grade level. The School Resource Officer position has been available to the school for a few years now, and was awarded to the community through grant money.

Two major points that Lieutenant Johnson wanted to point out to the group as a whole concerned the National Night Out event in August, as well as the upcoming Quarterly Meeting of the Neighborhood Watch, in April.

“We had a number of volunteers last year, for our first National Night Out, and I think they all did a great job and had fun, too,” said Johnson. “I would love to have even more volunteers this year to help alleviate the workload of our first year, so if you are interested, I’ll ask you to stick around for a little bit after our Quarterly meeting next month to talk about that.”

Though August 1, 2017 will mark just the second time that Fredericktown will celebrate the partnership between community and police, the National Night Out movement has been going on for at least 30 years to date. Last year’s event featured a classic car show, demonstrations and displays from law enforcement divisions around the community and state of Ohio, food from local businesses, games and other family-friendly activities.

Johnson also talked about the Quarterly meeting coming up on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at 11:00 AM in the Fredericktown High School Commons at 111 Stadium Drive. This time around, through the suggestion of Neighborhood Watch member Sandy Erick, local resident and officer of the Knox County Court of Common Pleas, Dave Lashley, will visit to help Neighborhood Watch members learn some basic self defense techniques. Lashley also owns and operates the Lashley Training Center in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Neighborhood Watch members called attention to the fact that, by and large, they are older and perhaps less agile, but Johnson said that Lashley has worked with groups of all ages.

To learn more about the Lashley Training Center and what it offers, please visit: http://www.ljja.org/.

With the input of the Neighborhood Watch, it was decided that the potluck lunch normally provided will still be available at the meeting. The potluck, as members agreed, helps draw a larger membership, and therefore, more potential for ideas and questions to be addressed.

In closing, Johnson also touched briefly on the upcoming plan to meet and work to remove the large amount of graffiti under the Mill Street Bridge. With the weather still being uncertain in April, Johnson said he plans to hold the event in May, when warmer temperatures are almost guaranteed.

Any information about the Fredericktown Police Department, including contact information and information to help better secure your home or business, can be found at: http://fredericktownpolice.com/.

Thank you to the residents and members of the Fredericktown Neighborhood Watch for your continued vigilance to help keep our community safe!