Police clerk hire extends IPD hours

Published 11:11 am Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Ironton Police Station started daily hours on Monday this week and will heretofore be open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The public can now get copies of reports, rummage sale permits, pay parking fines or conduct any other police-related business.

“We hired a police clerk who will be assisting at the police department to make things more convenient for the public,” Rich Blankenship, Ironton mayor said.

Ironton resident Cindy Prater began training this past Wednesday in preparation for the new position. Prior to Prater’s hiring the station was open only on Wednesdays.

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“This should really simplify things,” Dan Johnson, Ironton police chief, said. “Before if someone needed a car out of impound they had to call the sheriff’s office. If someone needed an accident report so they could rent a car a lot of times they couldn’t because of our hours, but now they can get anything they need 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.”

The IPD has gone without a clerk for about two years.

“We used to have dispatchers and a secretary that did the clerical work,” Johnson said. “The dispatchers disbanded and the secretary retired and we just never filled that position.”

If someone comes in the station with an emergency, Johnson said, Prater is able to make an officer available.

Next on Johnson’s agenda is improving the phone communications between the public and the department.

“I want to get our phone tree working better in the future,” he said. “Right now if someone calls they do not get to immediately speak to a human. The company that installed the system is out of business so we can’t even find anyone to work on it. It’s a nightmare.”

Also joining the list of city employees is street department mechanic Shawn Summers. Street department superintendent Mike Pemberton said Summers began work this past Wednesday and replaces an employee who took a position elsewhere.

“He’s on a 90-day probationary period just like everyone else is when they start,” Pemberton said. “We’ll see how he works out.”

So far, Pemberton said, Summers has given no reason to believe he won’t make the cut.

“From what I’ve seen I think he will work out just fine,” Pemberton said. “He’s knowledgeable about everything and anything we’ve thrown at him so far.”

Blankenship said the police clerk position was funded after he and Johnson lobbied the city council’s finance committee extensively.

“Neither of these positions were created,” Blankenship said. “The finance committee agreed to fund the positions during last year’s budget negotiations.”

The new employees’ salaries are paid from the city’s general fund, Blankenship said.