The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Stronghurst Swears In Smith, New Chief of Police

by: Shirley Linder, Quill Editor

Stronghurst now officially has their own police Department.

Gary Smith, Jr., Blandinsville, was sworn in by Stronghurst Village Clerk Lou Ann Nortrup, as the village's new police chief on Tuesday, September 8th at their regular monthly village board meeting.

Smith was hired to serve the Village of Stronghurst as Chief of Police, along with two assistants, Lynn Hoyt of Macomb and Arbry Vancil of Stronghurst.

The three are all on a part time basis with hours not to exceed 32 per week among the three of them.

Smith was hired at $14/hour while the assistants will be paid $12/hour.

Smith has lived in Blandinsville most of his life and graduated from Northwestern High School.

He has been married to Laurie for almost 21 years and has two daughters, Ashley, 13 and Jessica, 19.

A veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Storm he received the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device.

He was employed with the Illinois Department of Corrections for 17 years and is an Illinois State Certified Firearms Range instructor and Chemical Agents instructor.

He is currently employed in supervising paroled adult and juvenile sex offenders in 5 West-Central counties.

He worked part-time for the Blandinsville Police Department for 3 years and also worked 3 years with the La Harpe Police Department.

Smith told the board, "I am looking forward to getting to know and serving the Community of Stronghurst and I am committed to developing a professional police department while still emphasizing "small town" community service while providing safety and protection for the people in Stronghurst.

The office of the Chief of Police will be at City Hall.

The village was able to purchase a 2003 Crown Victoria from the county for the price of $1, with the stipulation when they decide to replace the vehicle they will sell it to another village in Henderson County for a $1.

Board members hope to have the vehicle equipped with the necessary electronics, decals, license, etc. by the first of October so patrolling can begin in the village. Hours will be varied, with the schedule set by the police chief.

A special checking account in the amount of $10,000, transferred from the general account, was established by the board for members of the police committee to purchase necessary items for the vehicle, as well as clothing, bullet proof vests, etc that will be needed. The vehicle will be housed in the bay at City Hall.

A desk for the office is being donated by RIVERLAND FS, but there will be other equipment and supplies needed. Michael Bohnenkamp said he has talked to Wal Mart regarding their needs and Wal Mart has agreed to help write grants for the items and anything the grant does not cover they will donate.

Village employee Ronnie Gittings gave his employee cell phone to the police department as he prefers to use his own personal cell phone and was willing to give board members his number.

The police committee on the village board is made up of Chris Cook, Michael Bohnenkamp and Lawrence Neff.

Dr. Todd Lange appeared before the board to ask that something be done with a vicious pit bull in his neighbor. Tony Anderson and Ronnie Gittings also said they were threatened by the dog when they read the water meter. The village has an ordinance stating dogs that have been deemed vicious must be removed from the city limits and they will contact the village attorney to have the matter taken care of.

In other business the board:

Those present included: President Eric Chockley; Trustees, Lawrence Neff, Angela Myers, Michael Bohnenkamp, Chris Cook, Mike Nelson, David Vancil; Sec./Treas. Lou Ann Nortrup; Employees, Tony Anderson, Ronnie Gittings; Guests, Matt Link, Curt Eisenmayer, James Beger, Gary Smith, Jr., Todd Lange, Brenda Schaley, David Knutstrom, Tony Griepentrog

During a guest portion of a special meeting held on Monday, Sept. 14th, by the Village of Stronghurst board Bob Hamilton attended to air a grievance on a trailer he has pulled into town.

Hamilton said he is going to cut the used trailer in half, take off all the siding and use the 2 x 6's to add onto an existing home he owns along the highway. He said the zoning board will not issue him a permit to proceed.

Board President Chockley, as well as board members, said they have received complaints from residents regarding this issue.

Chockley read the village ordinance which states this procedure is not legal and a heated discussion followed.

Hamilton said he is going to do it anyway and they would just have to take him to court.

In other business the board:

Those present included: President Eric Chockley; Trustees, Lawrence Neff, Michael Bohnenkamp, Chris Cook, Mike Nelson, David Vancil; Trustee Angela Myers was absent; Sec./Treas. Lou Ann Nortrup; Guests, Bonnie Harr and Bob Hamilton.

The next regular meeting will be held on Monday, October 5th at 7:00 p.m.

Stronghurst Village Clerk Lou Ann Nortrup swears into office the village's new Chief of Police Gary Smith, Jr. of Blandinsville. The Village also employed two assistants, Lynn Holt of Macomb and Arbry Vancil of Stronghurst,