Troubled waters: changes at Groveport pool after lifeguard attacked

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

New restrictions are now in place at the Groveport Aquatic Center after recent incidents at the popular swimming pool.

Lifeguard attacked

On June 30 around 6:50 p.m., a group of juveniles allegedly assaulted one of the pool’s lifeguards on the pool deck, according to the Groveport Police.

“One of the lifeguards tried to get a group of juveniles to exit the pool during ‘adult swim,’” said Groveport Police Lt. Josh Short. “After being verbally insulted, the lifeguard warned them that they would be made to leave the pool and was then attacked by one and then several of the girls in the group. A female patron attempted to help the lifeguard and pushed one of the attackers away but was then attacked by all of the same girls. “All suspects fled the park prior to an officer arrival.”

Four suspects were identified and Groveport Law Director Kevin Shannon said charges are expected to be filed against them.

Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams said Groveport Police Detective Josh Gilbert worked 16 hours to investigate and locate the suspects. Adams said the suspects, who are all under age 18, are from Columbus. He said the suspects could be charged with disorderly conduct, assault, or aggravated criminal trespassing. He said the suspects are cooperating.

Short said both the lifeguard and female patron received minor cuts, bumps, and bruises and declined any medical attention from medics.

“I honestly cannot give any logical reason for why the lifeguard was assaulted,” said Short. “She did nothing outside of normal pool policy and was attempting to have these girls follow clearly established and posted rules.”

Short said the Aquatic Center adult supervisors on duty were working somewhere at the facility when the incident began.

“I know from first hand observation that their supervisors are always moving around between the pool areas and the building constantly monitoring what is going on and helping out and addressing problems,” said Short.

In addition to the group of juveniles’ assault on the lifeguard, Shannon said an intoxicated male also recently allegedly assaulted a lifeguard by pushing the lifeguard into the pool.

The suspect could be charged with disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing, or assault.

Short said he can only speculate as to why problems at the pool are arising.

“With all of these calls to the pool this season there is clearly a lack of respect toward others and a disdain of any type of authority exhibited by the offending patrons. It’s repulsive when folks think rules do not apply to them and escalate their churlish behavior into physical violence,” said Short. “Since the opening of this pool season we have regularly had an officer(s) present for a while as the gates are opened and guests are coming in. We also have very regular patrols throughout the day through the park lot and on foot in the pool area.”

The city takes action
In light of the recent serious incidents at the pool, Groveport City Council enacted the following changes at the outdoor Aquatic Center effective July 2:

•Admission to the pool is limited to individuals and/or families that possess a resident or non-resident seasonal pass. Day passes are eliminated.

•The minimum age of individuals permitted in the facility without a parent or legal guardian is 14. Previously it was age 10.

•Security cameras will be installed in the breezeway of the facility.

•A police officer will be assigned to the pool during specific times mandated by the police chief after consultation with the mayor.

City officials said these changes are subject to ongoing review and can be revised in the future.

“It’s a good plan to improve safety at the pool,” said Groveport City Administrator B.J. King. “By limiting it to season pass holders we will know who is coming and going.”

1 COMMENT

  1. This is very unfortunate that these KIDS can ruin it for the rest of us. I am a single 60 yr old that can’t afford a pool pass so daily entry is all I’ve got so now I can not go to this pool because of their stupidity.

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