Obetz Police officers honored

By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Katelyn Sattler
Obetz Police Officer Jordan Mitchell and Obetz Police Sgt. Rob Rigby were recognized at the April 10 Obetz City Council meeting for recently preventing a suicide. According to a commendation letter written by Obetz Police Chief Mike Confer, on March 27 the officers were involved in an incident with a suicidal person with a gun. Confer said the officers handled the situation with “courage and composure” and de-escalated the situation and disarmed the person. “Their swift and decisive actions not only saved lives but also prevented a potentially disastrous outcome,” wrote Confer. Pictured are Mike Confer. Jordan Mitchell, Mayor Angie Kirk, and Rob Rigby.

Obetz Police Chief Mike Confer commended Sgt. Rob Rigby and Officer Jordan Mitchell for their actions on March 27 involving a suicidal woman with a gun.

Mayor Angela Kirk read the commendation at Obetz City Council’s April 10 meeting.

“The actions of the officers involved in this highly dangerous and unpredictable situation were exemplary, and they demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism and dedication to public safety,” read Kirk.

“Officer Mitchell and I located her in a little computer room,” said Rigby. “I could see a female at a computer desk with music in the background with a gun against her chin. She didn’t know we were there, so we had the element of surprise with us. This allowed me to holster my weapon and I was able to come from the top of her back and grab her gun.”

Mitchell then holstered his weapon and secured her gun.

Despite the challenging circumstances they faced, Obetz officials said the officers approached the situation with courage and composure, and they were able to de-escalate the situation, disarm the subject, and prevent any harm to the individual or the public.

“Their swift and decisive actions not only saved lives, but also prevented a potentially disastrous outcome.” said Confer.

After disarming the woman, the officers went into their crisis negotiator training, asking if she was okay and calming her down. They talked to her for about 15 minutes before she agreed to have the medics transport her to a local hospital.

Rigby believes the medics had to “pink slip” her for a 72-hour hold pending a psych evaluation, to ensure she got the help she needed.

The two officers have worked together for a while, so when Rigby holstered his weapon before going into the computer room, that body language plus a quick nod indicated to his partner that he was ready to confront the situation.

Rigby feels both officers did everything right. It was all about mindset, said Rigby. They quickly formed a plan and executed it flawlessly under intense pressure.

“It was one for the books,” said Rigby.

“Their ability to work together seamlessly and effectively demonstrated the exceptional level of training and expertise of the department,” said Confer. “It was clear that these officers had not only been trained for this kind of situation but had also internalized the values of service and protection of the community.”

It was also the first time Mitchell had wrestled a gun from somebody.

“At the end of the day, her life was saved,” said Rigby.

Both officers are Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy certified in hostage negotiation and Federal Bureau of Investigation certified in crisis negotiation. A third officer, Eric Baker, is also a member of the hostage/crisis negotiation team with the same certifications, but wasn’t at the scene the night Rigby and Mitchell saved the woman’s life from suicide.

“I would like to commend the officers involved for their quick thinking, bravery, and dedication to the safety of the community,” said Confer. “Their actions reflect the highest standards of the law enforcement profession, and they are a credit to the department and to the community they serve.”

Other Obetz news
•Kirk will visit Hamilton Township High School to discuss the summer intern program for high schoolers to work for the city. The high schoolers can submit their applications now to work this summer. About 10 to 15 Hamilton Township High School students will be accepted as interns. Some will be returning interns from the previous summer. Depending on the department, interns can make $16, $17, or $20 per hour for the summer.

•The city of Columbus is putting in a solar farm on Parsons Avenue, south of Rathmell. Neither Hamilton Township nor the city of Obetz is involved in this project.

•Confer said in the past two weeks the police department has responded to 768 calls for service; patrolled 3,508 miles; issued 33 moving violations, 3 of which were for speeding; 2 misdemeanor arrests; 5 offense reports; one crash report; one domestic violence incident.

Obetz Planning and Zoning news

By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

The Obetz Planning and Zoning Commission has tabled a decision on plans for a proposed daycare facility until May.

Kurtis Wolgast, Director of Design for SHYFT Collective and Garrett Baker, Project Manager with American Structurepoint, presented changes to the daycare plan at the April 12 planning and zoning meeting. attended the Obetz P&Z meeting April 12 to

The proposed Fountain of Knowledge Daycare is slated for the southwest corner of the intersection of Bixby and Groveport roads. The property is zoned commercial and needs to be rezoned to support the proposed daycare.

The Obetz city engineer is recommending one curb cut, but the Madison Township Fire Department wants two curb cuts. The city will follow up with the fire chief to discuss options.

“We submitted the traffic study in February, then we didn’t get comments back until yesterday,” said Wolgast. “In my experience, the traffic feedback should have been in time to get feedback for any traffic and site impacts that it would have impacted.”

Obetz Community Services Director Stacey Boumis said officials just received the traffic study and they appreciate Wolgast’s patience.

“It would be easier if it wasn’t a rezoning, but it is a rezoning and the traffic study is a component of that,” said Boumis.

Wolgast said that the turnaround time is uncommonly long.

Boumis said, “We need an approved traffic impact study so the engineers can sign off on that. Our engineer has to sign off on the curb cuts. So that’s going to mean talking to Madison Township Fire Department.”

Swimming pools
Boumis mentioned that the state of Ohio controls residential pools.

“The state of Ohio passed a residential building code years ago – back in 2005 or 2006,” said Boumis. “And according to the code, there are a variety of things within that. And there’s also state level code requirements for swimming pools. So, we have our own building department that enforces the Residential Code of Ohio,” said Boumis.

If Obetz didn’t have a building department, enforcement would default to the county.
The state of Ohio requires that all swimming pools with over 18 inches of water must get a pool permit. Obetz’s water depth for a pool is also 18 inches, whereas the city of Columbus defines a pool as an artificial construction with 30 inches of water. Dublin also requires a swimming pool to have 18 inches of water. Pickerington says a swimming pool has at least 24 inches of water. Fairfield County requires a swimming pool to have 24 inches or more of water. Hamilton Township considers a pool to have 24 inches of water.

The same is true for other pool requirements. An in-ground pool owner must have a fence around the pool, but the height varies depending upon the city or county. In Fairfield County, all in-ground pools must have a fence between four feet and six feet in height. Obetz requires a fence of at least 42 inches in height and be of sufficient design as to prohibit children from passing through. Columbus requires all pools to have a fence of at least 48 inches in height. Pickerington requires fencing of at least 48 inches in height. Hamilton Township requires enclosures around pools to be 48 inches in height.

Other requirements for pools that may vary are setback from the property line, location on the property, design criteria, and kinds of lights, among others.

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