The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Stronghurst To Buy New Police Car

by: Shirley Linder, Quill Editor

At the November Village of Stronghurst board meeting the police committee had asked permission to purchase a new squad car. On the advice of Village Attorney, Bill Rasmussen, the matter was tabled until December 1st when it could be placed on the agenda.

So on Monday, December 1st, Mike Bohnenkamp, Chairman of the police committee said they would like to purchase an all-wheel drive, 2015 Ford Explorer, base price of $28,238 and they will be trading in the current squad car after it is stripped.

Mayor Gary Root asked who had picked the vehicle out, to which Bohnenkamp replied the subcommittee and the officers. The group also discussed what options they wanted the vehicle to have.

Mayor Root asked if it is going to have police written on the side of it, to which Bohnenkamp said, "no"; Root, "Why Not?"; Bohnenkamp, "No it will be unmarked"; Root, "Why?"

At this point Deb Hale said it was not going to have all the bells and whistles. Root said, "This is just Stronghurst, 900 people, are we detectives now or something?" Bohnenkamp, "No we are not detectives, no"; Root, "Why not have police written on the side of it?"; Bohnenkamp, "Why not save the money?"; Root, "Why not spend the money?" Bohnenkamp, "O.K."

Hale said, " You don't seem to want us to spend it on a car so we figured this was another way to save it, as it won't have all the bells and whistles and don't need the light bar." Bohnenkamp said it will have wig wags, interior lights, dash lights, grill lights, back up lights, all the lights along the side. We just decided not to decal it.

Tony Anderson said it doesn't make sense to have a car like this since we are not a full time department.

It was brought out that the current squad car is starting to cost a lot of money in repair and is out of warranty. It needs new front brakes, new tires, the front ball joint is going out again, and the check engine light is on.

Anderson, said that people were asking about our police car being out of town so much, that he was about talked out, but...the only reason he wanted to bring it up again was that November's board minutes had incorrectly interpreted all my concerns. The November minutes stated, "Tony thinks we shouldn't be going out of town with our city vehicle."

Betty Waterman interjected that she also had heard from citizens regarding the police car is out of town all the time. Members did agree the term "all the time " is perception. Waterman also said she has been asked why Stronghurst did not just hire a full time police and was told that full-time is a whole different classification by the state and the paperwork is more than they are wanting to do, as well as the training for the officer.

Anderson said all he was trying to do was put out some i's to dot and t's to cross. "I'm trying to add accountability to these meetings and it is not being seen. I just question the structure."

Bohnenkamp asked, "You feel we're not running it correctly?" to which Anderson replied, "Well I understand you have a problem with personnel. Seems like the officers are dictating the hours."

Discussions got heated as Anderson proceeded to try and get information on procedures for agency assists, etc.

Brendan Schaley said, Guess my question is...Tony from the statement I listened to you say, you're unsure whether the police department is being run correctly. You have no faith or feeling that the 3 of us..." to which Anderson replied, "In a sense."

Schaley continued, "So if you want to trade me places, I'll make this stipulation, I'll trade you places, but don't ask me for a piece of advice. I think I know exactly how it's supposed to be run, I've had 18 years of law enforcement experience and I'm pretty sure I can figure out how to run a 3-man police department. You talk about policy and procedure manuals, I'll show you mine. They are about this tall (indicating with his hands "about a foot or so high") there is paper that chases paper for no reason at all, if you think that's what you want to do, we will adopt them. O.K.

I'm a little bit offended that you think we are not doing it right around here. And I'll tell the mayor right now, if you want to make the change you make it tonight, and don't come ask me questions cause. I ain't going answer."

Anderson answered, " I guess I didn't want to pull personal feelings into it, but there is definitely some personal feelings right there. I'm trying to be as even keel with this as I can." Schaley answered, "me too. You have no idea.

Anderson declined trading with Schaley saying he was not running for the board again.

Following more lengthy discussion, David Vancil spoke for the first time, "I make a motion to buy the car, let's get it done."

Roll call was taken: Vancil-yes; Anderson-no; Waterman-no; Hale-yes; Bohnenkamp-yes; Schaley-yes.

Ronnie Gittings reported the GPS project is completed and him and Lou Ann Nortrup had been shown the capabilities of the software. He said they could pull up a map of the town, all water lines, all valves, all fire hydrants, all the meters or a combination of any of them. It also has the capability of keeping track of what kind of meter, how long it has been in use and can be sorted by age and type.

Gittings also spoke of a letter received from the Illinois Section American Water Works Association stating the Village of Stronghurst is now eligible to received the 100 Year Club Award. The award will be handed out in Springfield on Thursday, March 16, 2015.

Nick with the MSA Engineering firm is coming to Stronghurst December 10th at 10 o'clock to discuss what the village wants for the new water tower.

Gittings also reported there had been an issue with garbage pick up on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. From what he was told residents need to have their garbage at curb side by 5 a.m. on Saturdays instead of the usual 6 a.m. time. The trucks are allowed to start earlier on those days since they have to be back in Macomb by noon.

Illegal dumping at the burn site was discussed as it had cost the village $700 to clean up an incident. Trustees discussed changing the ordinance to higher fines than the $50-$500 as stated now so they would be able to recover their costs in the future if needed. Hale will contact the attorney and proceed from there.

Police report for November included: 133 hours worked; 16 training hours; 859 miles on squad car; 3 traffic stops; 3 verbal warnings; 8 service calls; 3 agency assists-2 ambulance and 1 county car wreck; 3 village ordinance tickets and 16 business courtesy checks.

Vancil reported that Colton Smith would be taking his state test on December 13th and graduate on January 17, 2015. He also said the class average for the whole class is 89.9% and Colton has a 95.5%.

Vancil made the motion and Waterman seconded to give the same Christmas bonus as last year, $200 after taxes for full time employees and $100 after taxes for part time employees.

The Christmas light judging will be done by Arbry Vancil, December 21st. This year there will be two houses selected and two businesses. First place winners will receive $100 and second place will be awarded $50.

Mayor Root announced that he will be gone for the January and February meetings and needed to appoint someone. He chose Mike Bohnenkamp, who declined, but suggested Tony Anderson. Anderson accepted.

Present was: Mayor Gary Root; Trustees, Brendan Schaley, Mike Bohnenkamp, Deb Hale, Betty Waterman, Tony Anderson, David Vancil; Employees, Lou Ann Nortrup, Ronnie Gittings, Mike Nelson, Arbry Vancil, Colton Smith; Guests, David Knutstrom and Shirley Linder

The next meeting will be held on Monday, January 5 at 7 p.m.