Upper Township to start police dept.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

UPPER TOWNSHIP— Upper Township trustees Monday evening voted 3-0 to authorize the funding of the township’s first-ever police department.

Township trustee Bob Ackerman said he hopes to have a cruiser and officer on the road by the first of November. The reason for the development of a police department is simple: criminal activity does exist and the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office is often stretched so thinly it is hard for the two deputies on the road at any given time to handle the volume of request for help.

“What we want is local protection,” Ackerman said. “We’re not looking to be on the highways — we could be — but what we want is local protection.”

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Ackerman said trustees began discussing the idea two or three months ago and agreed to allow former sheriff’s deputy Lennis Abrams to develop a plan.

Trustees want to hire one full-time officer and then build on that, maybe hire one of two part-time officers in the future.

The next step is filing the necessary paperwork.

“I think we can make this work,” Ackerman said. “We plan to apply for grants. We’re not looking to put taxes on. I feel we’ve got enough money to start with and then with citations and grants I think we can continue to fund it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton said he had heard rumors that Upper was planning on starting its own department but no one had contacted him directly about his coordinating efforts between the two agencies, such as dispatch service. The sheriff’s office dispatches not only its own officers but also for other departments, such as Coal Grove, Hanging Rock and South Point. The city of Ironton has its own dispatchers.

“I will work with any other agency and its always nice to have more police presence on the roads,” Sexton said.

Sexton said he is also willing to speak with trustees in any township about their contracting additional law enforcement through his office or about their funding overtime hours for his deputies to provide additional assistance to their townships.