SALINEVILLE- A rash of recent burglaries had residents and council members alike up in arms and considering what actions can be taken to improve the situation.
The subject arose Monday while Salineville Village Council accepted the resignation of one of the village police department's officers and discussed an ordinance to raise village police officer's hours per week from 24 to 28.
Officer Shawn Paciorek submitted a letter of resignation to council last week. In the letter, he states he will be moving from the area, making it no longer practical for him to make the drive from his new home to Salineville. His last day with the department will be Sept. 28.
Mayor Mary Smith read a letter from Police Chief David Hilliard Jr. asking council to consider raising the department's hours per week limit from 24 to 28 hours. After some discussion and debate as to how and why the limit was set at 24 hours to begin with, council voted unanimously to permanently change the ordinance, increasing the weekly limit to 28 hours.
Following the vote, Councilmen Tom Hays spoke up expressing his frustration with the growing amount of crime in the village.
"We got a serious problem in town," said Hays. "The sheriff's department is in here every night, and we're having a lot of robberies and drugs."
Councilmen Wayne Leishman and Rick Beadle both agreed, saying the village crimewave has hit close to both of them in recent weeks.
"My neighbor was robbed the other day and we haven't had a robbery there in 40 years," said Leishman.
Council seemed in agreement that crime in the village appears to be on the rise. Some council members suggested hiring more part-time officers to add to the current four-man police force. Council did just that approving the hire of Terry G. Weyand Jr. of Steubenville as a part-time officer.
Weyand's resume states he currently works full-time with the Wells Township Police Department and previously worked for the Salineville Police Department from 2010 to 2011.
Despite the mayor's request to go into executive session regarding Weyand's prospective employment, council opted to hire Weyand during the open portion of the meeting after having determined he was endorsed for the job by Hilliard.
"We need bodies-as long as he's alive," said Hays.
Other council members contended a successful police levy would be the best remedy to the village's crime problem.
"We need to get the levy passed," said councilmen Jim Howdershelt. "People will feel better when there's more officers."
One resident, Duane Martin, expressed his concerns to council during the public comment, stating four of his neighbors have experienced crimes against them.
"The reason I'm here tonight is I'm tired of hearing about all the break-ins and it's nothing against our department," said Martin. "The people in this village need to start getting together and do some kind of community policing."
Martin, who stated he was a former soldier and police officer, volunteered his military and law enforcement experience toward starting a crime watch organization and requested council order crime watch signs for the village. Several residents in the audience chimed in, expressing an interest in Martin's plan.
The mayor responded to Martin's concerns saying, "I do know the chief is apprised of what's going on, and I converse with him almost daily," adding "That's why we're putting this police levy on (the ballot)."
The council resolved to research cost associated with crime watch signs and bring their findings to the next meeting.