Valleyview may see full-time police

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Valleyview Village Council is considering making the office of police chief a full-time position, although a former council member questions the urgency of the legislation.

Council has given two readings to a proposed ordinance that would make the office a full-time position and make it effective upon passage.

Former council member Paul Parrish has questioned council about the urgency of the legislation and asked why it couldn’t go into effect in the usual 30 days.

As written and presented to council at a special meeting Nov. 29 and brought back for a second reading Dec. 10, the proposal declares the ordinance “to be an emergency measure necessary for the preservation of the public peace, safety, and health of the residents of the Village of Valleyview.?

When Parrish repeatedly asked what made the situation an emergency, Mayor Tom Watkins responed, “It is time,” to make the chief’s position full-time.

That opinion was echoed by council member Ron Hays.

Watkins reminded Parrish that when he was on the village council, legislation was passed as an emergency, citing legislation providing for a marshal in the village.

Parrish defended that legislation saying it was an emergency “Because we needed a police officer.”

“Does an emergency exist now?” he asked.

Watkins replied, “Crime around us has increased,” and “It is time Valleyview had a full-time police chief.”

The ordinance under study would provide a salary of $32,240 a year and offer pension benefits through the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund, and two-weeks paid vacation.

Parrish said being full-time also means the chief would be a member of the Fraternal Order of Police which would make it harder to relieve him of duties if the need ever arose.

Watkins countered that membership in the FOP is not mandatory and that the chief could join the organization if he wished, and any time he wished.

Clerk Barbara Schwartz commented the officer in question for promotion,Ti Myers, has been a great help to her in her duties ensuring she receives required papers on time.

She added Myers has taken on administrative duties in his current part-time position.

She said Myers is one of five paid officers in the village where the pay ranges from $9 to $10.50 an hour and the officers work about 30 hours a week.

The companion piece of legislation would allow the mayor to name Myers as a full-time chief of police. The appointment would be for a probationary period of six months and then subject to confirmation by council at the end of that time.

Parrish, who said he has no issues with Myers being elevated to chief, also questioned when discussions had been held to make the position a full-time position and what committees had studied it.

Watkins said the issue had been discussed several times at recent meetings and Parrish said he feared that village residents would be losing a say in the issue because he had not been notified of such discussions.

The issue will come up before council for a third and possibly final reading at the next meeting, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. in the village administration building

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