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Lanesville looks to increase police presence

Mike Arnold, Contributing Writer

The Lanesville Town Council met in special session last Tuesday evening to discuss matters related to its police department, including increasing coverage due to growth from annexation of three subdivisions.

Town Council President Herb Schneider said he called the meeting because the town’s population experienced a significant jump with expansion of its borders; however, the exact figure won’t be known until 2020 Census data is released, probably some time in 2021. With the increase in residents, Schneider said he would like to ramp up police presence.

“We don’t seem like we have much during the day,” he added.

Schneider said the town cannot justify the expense of a full-time marshal but would like to see hours increase.

Chief Marshal Tom Walter said he has other main employment, which limits the number of hours he patrols. Walter added that he was not aware of the specific amount of time the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. spends in Lanesville.

Marshal Rusty Sizemore was not present at the meeting.

Walter also addressed prior discussions concerning when he might retire from the department, indicating that by late spring 2020 he may be ready to step down. Walter said his plan now is to work through the first of April.

Walter told the board he would provide recommendations on possible replacements and indicated it would be best to have someone who lives in town or very close. He also said he would stay on as a reserve officer to assist with the transition and to complete some projects, including drafting the department’s Standard Operating Procedures documentation and bringing on two to three additional reserve officers.

“The big thing is the personality,” Walter said about what he would consider in recommending a replacement.

Walter was also asked about a large number of warning citations issued recently in town but no tickets. He explained some of the criteria he uses to determine whether a driver receives a citation or ticket.

“A lot of it is due to timing,” he added.

Walter spoke about current inventory of the department, which includes three cars. He said the department’s firearms and radar are in good shape, although he believes its portable breath tester needs to be rebuilt.

He also discussed enforcement of the ATV ordinance in the town and mentioned that he had been patrolling in the new subdivisions.

The council will also discuss adding the new roads in the developments to its speed limit ordinance. The new subdivisions are primarily on the town’s east side, north of S.R. 62.