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Rome Township asks for more patrols

As the growth in the eastern end of Lawrence County continues, Rome Township is concerned about the increase in thefts, vandalism, break-ins and burglaries.

Last week, the township wrote a letter to the Lawrence County commissioners and Sheriff Tim Sexton concerning the need for more police protection.

Also, the trustees asked about a sheriff’s annex in Rome Township.

“We’ve had people coming to our township meetings and they’re wanting to see more visibility with the sheriff’s office,” said Charles Fuller, Rome Township trustee. “He’s been promising a satellite station and that’s never materialized.”

The Fairland Board of Education donated a building for the sheriff’s office to use as a satellite station that is about one-third completed.

“I’ve been working with the Collins Career Center and they began remodeling a building the board of education gave to us to use as a satellite office,” said Sheriff Tim Sexton.

The Collins Career Center is donating help during the school year and the money used for supplies is from forfeiture money, he said.

“I’ve talked to those in charge at the Collins Career Center and they assured me that they will continue as soon as school is open.”

The satellite office will have desks and a conference room for officers to use and if they need to meet with a citizen or witness, it will be a place they can have interviews.

Sexton also hopes the Ohio State Highway Patrol will join them in using the building.

“We are certainly going to extend that invitation,” he said. “The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office is spread thin enough and we can only do with what we have. We are giving a 110 percent effort in every township in Lawrence County.”

The sheriff’s office has 15 patrol deputies covering 449 square miles and a population of approximately 64,000.

“The city of Ashland has 45 to 50 officers for a population of 21,000, Huntington has 85 or more for a population of 50,000, and Scioto County has 36 to 30 deputies for a population of 73,000,” Sexton said. “We’ve been under funded for many, many years even before I was sheriff, and it really needs to be addressed in this county.”

Sexton plans to go to the township trustees and talk to them about the plans.

Some of the concerns Sexton has in Rome Township are that in the subdivisions they have had numerous calls, especially for thefts involving unlocked cars.

“We’re sitting up here kind of out of the way,” Fuller said. “We’ve got a good neighborhood and people don’t want it going sour.”

Sexton urges all residents to become more proactive in crime prevention and lock car doors and homes.

“I will be willing to talk to any group to help set up community watch programs, how to prevent crime, what to look for and what to report to police,” Sexton said. “We do need help from the public.