Reynoldsburg police motorcycle unit a success

By Dustin Ensinger
Staff Writer

The two-year-old motorcycle unit in the Reynoldsburg Police Department is paying dividends, according to the one full-time officer who serves on the unit.

Officer James Triplett told Reynoldsburg City Council on Feb. 9 he believes the unit’s visibility has improved safety on roadways since the unit – largely focused on traffic and parking violations – was formed in 2013.

The unit issued 1,265 citations in 2014, down from 1,496 in 2013.

Triplett attributed the decrease in citations to an increase in written warnings given to drivers, which jumped from 449 in 2013 to 906 in 2014.

“We realized there needs to be some grace,” Triplett said.

A large number of citations, Triplett said, stemmed from traffic complaints lodged by residents, which grew to 399 in 2014 from 283 in 2013.

The unit also continued its enforcement in school zones, issuing 186 citations in school zones in 2014, down from 348 in 2013.

Triplett said the motorcycle unit’s presence in school zone areas has drastically reduced speeding.

To alleviate the burden on patrol units, the motorcycle unit has also taken on crash investigations, taking on 207 in 2014.

The unit investigated 252 parking complaints in 2014, assisted patrol units 83 times and instituted several traffic stops that led to the confiscation of drugs. One stop yielded a batch of illegal moonshine.

“In my 18-year career, I’ve never gotten anyone with moonshine on them,” Triplett said.

The motorcycle unit is designed to be the public face of the department. In that role, the unit attended 55 community gatherings in 2014, up from 35 in 2013.

“A lot of that increase was actually people coming to us,” said Triplett.

Police awards

Several Reynoldsburg police officers were honored for their work in 2014. Officers are nominated by their colleagues. The nominations are then reviewed by a five-person committee.

“It’s truly a top-to-bottom evaluation,” said Chief Jim O’Neill.

Lt. Ron Wright received one of the department’s highest honors, the Distinguished Service Award. He led a unit of officers assigned to keep peace during the labor strife last year in the city school district. The Officer of the Year Award went to Triplett, who wrote 616 traffic citations in 2014 as the motorcycle unit’s only full-time officer. Sgt. Shane Mauger, Officer Jeff Gammell and Officer Jeremy Severance also received the award. Sgt. Mark Moser was selected as Supervisor of the Year. Officer Nicholas Keisel received the Community Service Award and Cheryl Kristy was given the Civilian of the Year Award.

State Route 256 improvements

Council approved a measure to allow Mayor Brad McCloud to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for a project to improve State Route 256.

The work will include the area from Farmsbury Road to the municipal boundary. More extensive work will be done on the roadway in the city of Pickerington.

Overall, the project is expected to cost more than $1 million. The city of Reynoldsburg will cover $105,572 for the work, according to Service Director Nathan Burd.

Burd said he expects work to begin in March or April. Lane closures are possible, but the roadway should remain open throughout the project.

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