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Palmyra bolsters police force

My Opinion
Ross Schulz, Staff Writer

The Palmyra Town Council agreed at its regular March meeting to keep town marshal Steve Hamm’s old police cruiser to be used by the three town reserve officers.
As evident by the attendees at the meeting, the town will welcome the extra police presence and, as long as the expenses to operate the vehicle stay at a minimum, the council made a positive choice that should be ‘ and was ‘ applauded by town residents.
If for some reason the fuel and maintenance of the vehicle become more of a burden than expected, Councilman Alvin Brown’s plan to only use the vehicle for a six-month trial run will alleviate any worries by dropping the second car at the end of the time period if the council sees fit.
Brown also said he didn’t think the town had a great deal of crime. So, if after six months it appears the car isn’t needed, they can go back to Brown’s original plan of selling the vehicle.
Hamm’s vehicle, a 2002 model, has about 78,000 miles on it so it should have a relatively long life for the reserves.
Hamm also has a bicycle he uses to patrol the town, mainly Buffalo Trace Park, in the summer months.
The second car will eliminate another issue that has been a problem with the Palmyra reserve officers. They will no longer have to use their personal vehicles to make runs. Using personal vehicles is a huge liability to the town and may even be illegal.
Reserve officer Jeff Reich said the cruiser will more than double the police presence in the town and, after the March 2 tornado in nearby Pekin, it became evident that there’s a need for every emergency/law enforcement vehicle.
A Harrison County dispatcher also spoke at the public meeting and detailed the need for town officers, especially in the third shift, because county officers are often busy elsewhere and there isn’t enough officers to satisfy every call.
While Palmyra is a small town of about 950 residents, it still makes sense to have an extra vehicle for the police force. If Hamm is tied up with an issue, reserves can now use a town police vehicle to go on another run in a timely manner, which could make all the difference in the world for those in need.