Coal Grove hires three officers

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2022

Department also includes chief, two on auxiliary

COAL GROVE — The Village of Coal Grove continued to rebuild its police department on Thursday, with the council voting to hire three officers for the department.

Mayor Gary Sherman asked the council to hire Steven Woodyard, Mike Vaden and Josh Haspel for the department at the regular meeting of village council.

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The council voted unanimously to confirm their hire.

The vote was preceded by an ordinance setting compensation, which was passed with emergency language. The council voted unanimously to suspend the three reading rule and again to set pay for the officers.

Sherman noted that these hires are “pending medical exams.”

The village has been without a police department since Randy Lewis resigned as chief in January, with the entire department resigning after him.

Last week, the council voted to confirm Bill Murphy as the new chief, after he was nominated by Sherman. Murphy had previously served as police chief for Proctorville for more than a decade.

The hires on Thursday mean the department now has two former chiefs of other villages on its roster. In addition to Murphy, Woodyard was chief in Chesapeake until November 2021.

At the beginning of the meeting, Murphy gave a report on activities of the police department, for the period from Feb. 16 until Thursday.

During that time, Murphy was the sole officer in the department, with two serving as auxiliary.

Murphy said 16 citations were issued in that week — including three for speeding, three for registration issues, three for no insurance, one for open container, and one for driving on a suspended license.

He said three reports were filed with the police department — two for theft and one for a stolen catalytic converter.

Murphy said an IT specialist was brought into work on computers, getting them access to two that they had been locked out of by passwords, as well as fixing the department’s phone line and fax machine and checking its router. He said equipment was restored to its factory settings.

Murphy also checked over the department’s vehicles. He said an SUV needs a prisoner partition, which could be donated from another department or swapped from another vehicle at no cost. He said the department’s Dodge Charger needs a new battery and a possible alternator replacement, while a Ford Interceptor needs a radio, which could be swapped in from another vehicle at no cost.

“I don’t feel comfortable sending an officer out without a radio,” he said.

He said all vehicles need an oil change and rotation or replacement of tires.

Murphy said that the agency’s roster has now been cleared of all officers who resigned.

In other business, the council:

• Voted unanimously to dismiss interest in parcels of land, at the request of the county’s land bank. The parcels are located on Locust and Ridgeway streets.

“This is an effort to give property to the land bank by the end of February so it can be cleaned up,” council member Andy Holmes, who had been in contact with the land bank, said.

He urged the council to vote for the ordinance. It was noted that the parcels do not belong to the village and they are not giving anything up, but merely stating they have no interest in the properties.

• Tabled the matter of setting compensation for a mayor’s court clerk. Sherman said applications are being taken at village hall from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

• Voted to apply for an interim design loan, as advised by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, for a connection with Ironton’s water system. Holmes said this is a “contingency plan” for emergency situations and is being funded by a federal agency and not the taxpayer.