• 50°

South point assistant chief relishes role

SOUTH POINT

-- It’s been

14 years since Chris Majher made the decision to go into law enforcement, starting with his studies at the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy.

Always drawn to the work done by such public servants as the volunteer firemen and emergency medical technicians, he believed that working as a peace officer was the niche that was right for him.

And so far it’s been a decision that has brought the South Point native great satisfaction.

“It just seemed that was the path I needed to take,” he said recently, taking a break from his duties to reflect on his career. “I like to help.”

About two years ago Majher took on additional responsibilities when he took over the post of assistant chief of the South Point force.

Four years earlier Chief Carl Vance had retired from the full-time position, but maintains the post in the reserve unit.

Majher came to his present job by way of

the Proctorville police department where he first was a sergeant and then chief of police, and the sheriff’s department where he was a special deputy.

When the chance to serve as assistant chief of his hometown came about, Majher took it.

“South Point has been a wonderful employer … they take care of their employees,” he said. “South Point is growing now. We have the industrial park and it is slowly growing. Unfortunately, one of the byproducts of that is crime is growing.”

And that brings out a major frustration for Majher — the lack of manpower in his department. With the diminishing of grant and other federal monies and the refusal of voters to pass a police department levy, funding needed to increase the department is hard to come by.

Recently, South Point Village Council passed an ordinance that will allow Majher to hire two additional part-time officers in 2008.

“Obviously, it’s a band aid …it’s better than nothing,” he said.

He is also working on securing grant money to update surveillance equipment and purchase in-car videos.

While South Point lies in Lawrence County, simply looking to the sheriff’s department to meet all the law enforcement needs of the village is not a solution, Majher believes.

“The mass of the population runs right along the river, if that is just thrown on the sheriff’s back, that would be overwhelming,” he said. “There is a mutual aid that we give (between the two departments). They give more than I could ever give back.”

However, when things get tough, Majher says, that is the time to persevere.

“If the job gets a little harder, I try to take another deep breath and go back again,” he said. “When I see victims of crime, that is a motivator. I have a family, too.”