Posted on

Lanesville PD puts officer on probation, loses another

Lanesville PD puts officer on probation, loses another
Lanesville PD puts officer on probation, loses another
Town Marshal Larry Borden, left, talks to several residents of Lanesville Monday night after a special meeting of the town council to address concerns with Borden and his reserve officers. Earlier, 65 people had crammed into the Lanesville Town Hall for the two-minute meeting. Photo by Alan Stewart (click for larger version)

More than 65 people ‘ representing a 10th of the town’s population ‘ packed the tiny Lanesville Town Hall Monday night for a special town council meeting that was called to address issues with its police department.
The main issue, many residents in attendance said, was the recent over-aggressiveness of ticketing speeders and being pulled over for minor offenses (burned out license plate lights, not using a turn signal, etc.) by the town’s four reserve officers and its part-time deputy, Larry Borden.
The Lanesville Town Council ‘ made up of president Herb Schneider, Tim Carman and Kim Greer ‘ met with Borden in executive session for an hour and 45 minutes before addressing the standing-room-only crowd.
Schneider said that Borden was placing one of his reserve officers on suspension for two months, during which time the officer will take sensitivity training, and one other reserve officer would be let go. With one less reserve deputy, one of the town’s three police cars will be sold, also.
Borden asked that the two reserve officers in question not be identified until they could be notified of the results of the meeting.
Also, Borden made a clarification to the policy of allowing riders with officers. All riders must sign a waiver and can’t actively participate in any arrests or other police business.
Some town residents wanted to know why there was no public discussion on the matter. The town’s attorney, P. Michael Summers, noted that the decision was made by Borden and not the council, so there were no motions to discuss.
Mark Bush said he would have liked to have heard an explanation from Carman and Greer, who left the town hall immediately after the meeting.
‘People had questions, and they should have been heard,’ Bush said. ‘I think there were other issues besides sensitivity training.’
Borden, who is paid $8,700 a year for the part-time position and operates the department on less than $20,000 a year, said he was just trying to do what some residents of the town had asked him to do.
Dale (Chip) White, who toted a sign that read, ‘We want peace, not police,’ said in a perfect world he would have liked to have seen all four reserve officers let go, only one police car for the town and the town marshal be required to live in Franklin Township.
‘I’ve lived here for 35 years and have been through several town marshals and they’ve always been able to handle Lanesville’s business by themselves. And, this is my opinion, but I think (the town marshal) needs to live in the town so he can get to know people,’ White said. ‘Right now, our police department comes in, stirs up a hornets’ nest, then goes home. I don’t think it’s right.’
Borden admitted that patrols were stepped up last month after one of his reserves had received enough training to go out on his own during the day while Borden was at his regular job.
Borden said that 46 traffic citations had been written so far this year for excessive speed, but that the month of November alone accounted for 25 of those tickets. He said that contrary to the public’s belief, his department has never given a citation for a broken tail light or license plate light or for not using a turn signal. There have been 76 citations overall in 2009, including tickets for driving while intoxicated, not wearing a seat belt and driving with a suspended license.
‘The big issue is speed. If you are going five miles an hour over, I’m probably going to let it go. When you get to 10 mph over, I might stop you,’ Borden said. ‘But once you get to 15 over and beyond, you’ve bought yourself a ticket. It’s not an accident you are going that fast and to me that’s just a blatant disrespect of the speed limit.
‘Then, at 20 miles over, it’s reckless driving, and I’d be within my rights to take you to jail,’ he said. ‘I know people are upset, but the simple answer to the larger problem is to obey the speed limit.’
Borden said that while there have been 600 calls to the Lanesville area, the number actually reflects a collective total that includes fire, EMS, DNR and state and county police, and represents a growing community.
‘I’ve had to arrest people I know for domestic violence. We’ve had cyber crime and drug arrests. It’s still small-town Lanesville, but there are a few skeletons in the closet,’ he said. ‘The people who have lived here all their lives aren’t the problem. Most of the people we have to deal with are from out of town or are passing through. I’ve also addressed the issue of running radar outside of the town limits by the reserves.
‘What’s happening here is my problem, and I’m going to fix it.’