IPD shifts officer to investigator

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 4, 2003

The number of cases requiring the work of a police detective has increased in the City of Ironton. Now, the number of people handling those investigative cases has, too.

Ironton Police Chief Bill Garland said officer Jim Akers, who was previously assigned to street patrol, is now working in investigations. Akers will investigate cases that do not involve drug activity, thus freeing Capt. Chris Bowman to concentrate on drug-related crimes.

"The drug problem is on the rise, particularly ones that involve people from outside the area coming into the city, and we can't afford not to have a full-time detective working on this," Garland said.

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Garland said uniformed officers logged 277 overtime hours between Jan. 1 and Sept. 1, and much of that was spent investigating burglaries, thefts and other such incidents. He sees the shift in personnel as a proactive move aimed at making the department run more smoothly.

"This takes that burden away from them (road patrol) and gets them back on the road," Garland said. "This allows them to be running radar and writing tickets and preventing crimes as opposed to reacting to it."

Garland said with the city's budget crunch, there is no hope of hiring any new officers. Shifting officers from one area to meet demands in another area is one of the few choices he has in keeping up an increasing caseload.

"We try and juggle everything to run the most efficient department we can with the budget we have, just do the best we can with what we've got," Garland said. "And it's almost impossible to do."

Meanwhile, Garland has completed the required 287 hours of training to earn his Ohio Peace Officers Training Certification. This comes after the discovery late last year that Garland and other officers locally and across the state had completed peace officers' training, but did not have the specific certificate required to work as police officers.

A statewide audit turned up a problem for a number of former Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers across the state who took training years ago but later switched agencies. Garland was a trooper for more than 20 years before joining the city police department.

At that time, troopers were not required to have the certificate to work for the state patrol.

Garland attended classestwo to three days a week since the first of the year to get his certificate.