Township trustees consider transient vendors ordinance

CALCUTTA — Following concerns from residents and an incident that took place last week, St. Clair Township officials are looking into possible legislation regarding regulations on transient vendors.

During Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, Police Chief Brian McKenzie addressed the board about the possibility of setting up an ordinance or resolution that would establish regulations on vendors who appear throughout the township — a subject first discussed about a year ago.

“We need to go on this,” McKenzie said. “We need to get some type of resolution on this. If nothing else, we need to know who’s in the township, where they’re going. At least we can control a little bit of that.”

McKenzie said the situation — ongoing for some time — places police officers in bad situations by going to these areas, adding “unless they commit a criminal act, there’s nothing that we could really do.”

While vendors licenses can be obtained through the county, the recommendation from McKenzie — although he stated he wasn’t not sure of state law — would be to require that vendors obtain authorization or a permit from the township, per Ohio Revised Code.

The request follows a reported incident that took place last week as residents called police regarding what they termed multiple suspicious vendors.

“Here’s the thing: it’s not just one or two people the majority of the time. Usually they come in and there’s a dozen in multiple neighborhoods at one time,” McKenzie said. “So we got guys running in these neighborhoods because the residents are concerned. With some type of a check in place we can at least say, yeah, you’re approved, or maybe it’s that illegitimate business that we can’t check.”

Trustee James Sabatini thanked the police department for acting on the aforementioned incident.

McKenzie said Fiscal Officer Deborah Dawson contacted legal counsel Andy Beech, who supplied trustees with information regarding the matter and will look to have a resolution.

In another matter, in a situation regarding the opioid epidemic, McKenzie reported about a new grant program through the state attorney general’s office, which serves as a multi-jurisdictional collaborative with a substantial amount of money available through this program.

McKenzie said the department signed an agreement with the Southern Columbiana County Opiate Response Team, which will serve as a collaborative between the St. Clair Township, Liverpool Township and East Liverpool police departments and several local ambulance companies, along with a resource center, and will offer programs that are funded, but require a grant application.

McKenzie said he spoke with ELPD Chief John Lane regarding the matter.

The Lytle Family Care Excellence of East Liverpool and New Vision community groups, both which offer to help people achieve a clean path of life, are part of the program.

“There’s nothing locally for these opiate addicts, for a lack of a better term,” McKenzie said. “This is a resource that we could provide for them to put them in the places that they need to be. At least we can try one more time to help.”

McKenzie said he would provide more details on the grant at the next township meeting, scheduled for Aug. 22.

Meanwhile, McKenzie also presented the monthly activity report from the department for July, which indicated 231 total calls.

According to the breakdown, police responded to 91 total incident reports, made 70 arrests, issued 59 traffic citations, and reported 18 cases of incident/documentation, 11 traffic crashes and 11 towed vehicles.

Also reported were eight traffic stops, six investigations, six thefts, four domestic violence calls, three assaults, three drug activity reports, three DUIs, three investigating disturbances, three suspicious activities, two criminal damaging reports, two frauds, two harassments, two removal requests, two public intoxications, one ambulance, one casualty, one fight, one lost item, one missing person report, one other emergency, one neighborhood dispute, one receiving, one unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, one case of vandalism, and one welfare check.

The total number of calls and reports now stands at 1,511 for the 2017 calendar year. The July figures were a slight increase from the June count of 230, and also serve as the third-highest volume of activity for the department for this year.