By Linda Dillman
Speeding continues to be a thorn in the side of Madison Township residents.
During a Jan. 20 Madison Township trustees’ meeting, Administrator Susan Brobst reported on residents’ concerns regarding excessive speeding on Fullerton Drive in the Blacklick Estates area and the possibility of installing speed bumps.
“The complaint is high speeding all along Fullerton,” said Brobst. “They wanted to know what can be done besides the speed trailer.”
Brobst recommended contacting the Franklin County Engineer for recommendations and a speed study.
Madison Township Police Chief Gary York emphasized that an active police presence in the area continues to issue traffic tickets to violators and discourage those who violate the law.
The police department’s speed trailer was set up in the area and collected speed data on two separate occasions.
York said another area of concern is the intersection of Hayes and Richardson roads, which is maintained and serviced by Franklin County and not under the direct control of the township. A serious accident at the intersection at the beginning of the year reaffirmed line-of-sight and speeding hazards which have impacted the area for several years.
The county engineer’s office was apprised of the situation, which was also done in the past. Previous suggestions to address the situation included a traffic light and a four-way stop, instead of the current two-way, east-west stop.
However, in the case of the Richardson/Hayes intersection and based on similar studies, a four-way stop could increase crashes due to the approved rate of speed and a light would require major road reconstruction to include turn lanes in all directions.
Brobst asked the trustees for approval to request the study and solicit recommendations from the county engineer for the Hayes/Richardson intersection. Trustee Chair Michele Reynolds asked if the engineer could help educate and involve residents in the process.
Trustee John Pritchard suggested the township place the speed trailer in the area.
“A letter requesting the county to look into the safety concerns has been sent,” said Brobst. “The line-of-sight impact for a county maintained road versus a township maintained road would only be that the township would notify the property owner versus the county. There is no known timeline for this. However, I know the county has already been reviewing this issue.”
Residents are encouraged to call the Franklin County Engineer’s Office at 614-525-3030 with their concerns and questions.
Madison Twp. recognizes Black History Month
In a statement released Jan. 31, Madison Township officials said they are “happy to celebrate Black History Month in such an appropriate way — by recognizing the first person of color to serve as the chair of the Board of Trustees, Michele Reynolds.”
The township also recognized Lt. Rashid Taylor of the township fire department and Officer Darrian Jackson of the township police department.
“These men are representatives of the community in their service to the public, which is greatly appreciated by the residents, and administration, of Madison Township,” according to the statement. “Diversity is not an end goal or a quota to meet. It is an ever-developing desire to represent those we serve. Madison Township is proud to have employees from various walks of life, ethnicities, sexes, and backgrounds that reflect the communities we serve.”
Body-worn cameras and the Madison Township Police
Agencies around Ohio received grant funding from Governor Mike DeWine to purchase body-worn cameras for police officers, including departments in the area.
According to Madison Township officials, the Madison Township Police Department is not on the list because it has had body-worn and vehicle-mounted cameras in operation for several years.
“One of my initial goals as chief was to implement the use of body-worn cameras,” said Madison Township Police Chief Gary York. “Thanks to the tremendous support from the Madison Township trustees, body-worn cameras were purchased for each sworn officer in 2018. Recently, brand new body-worn cameras were purchased through an upgrade promotion from our vendor, saving Madison Township more than half the cost of purchasing these advanced cameras. MTPD has worked to set the bar in policing technology and transparency in Franklin County law enforcement.”
Madison Township trustee John Pritchard said that when the township first purchased body cameras in 2018, the technology was new in central Ohio.
“We were the only small department in the area we knew of at that time working toward the goal of transparency in policing. This bold initiative required the MTPD to upgrade our technology and the board to work with the chief to implement rules on the use of the body cams,” said Pritchard. “But despite the challenges, we knew this technology would soon be the standard and we wanted to be ahead of the curve for our residents. It took a concerted effort between the trustees, police chief, and the police officers to successfully implement the use of body cameras and we would be happy to share our lessons learned with the departments that are now getting the technology.”
Trustee chair Michele Reynolds said body-worn cameras are an asset to the policing of the township.
“We know the communities receiving these grants will benefit,” said Reynolds. “These cameras are an excellent way to protect the public, and our officers. Congratulations to those who were awarded funding.
Added Trustee Katherine Chipps, “Having the cameras allows our officers to be confident in their policing practices, and residents to know there is accountability for all parties. There have been several instances where the body-worn footage has been instrumental in investigations.”