SALINEVILLE - Newly hired Police Chief Andrew Straley hit the ground running in what has been a busy yet productive first week on the job for the former Cleveland Metro Health Police Officer.
In just a week on the job Chief Straley has learned first hand the safety issues facing the village and taken steps toward solving them.
Straley started the job last Wednesday and immediately began getting to know his new beat. Driving around town he says he met many village residents who were excited to see an increased police presence.
"I'm happy to be here and the people are happy to have a police presence here again."
While on patrol he says he surprised a few motorist who promptly applied their brakes and slowed down. However, one speeder was not so lucky and was written a ticket for doing 64 in a 35 mile per hour zone.
Since he began the job, Chief Straley has also dealt with an ongoing rash of burglaries and car break-ins that have plagued the village in recent months. He says since he has started he has dealt with 4 burglaries and 6 cars being broken into. Multiple items were take from 2 houses on Sycamore Avenue and 2 homes on Academy Street. The car break-ins have occurred generally in the same area according to Straley.
He declined to release any further details about the burglaries and car break-ins, saying that an investigation is ongoing and evidence is being gathered. He did, however, note that the burglaries continue to take place during the day time with homeowners arriving home in the evening to discover their property stolen. The car break-ins tend to take place in the late night and early morning hours according to Straley.
"It definitely takes time and the cooperation of residents being the eyes and ears for the department," said Straley adding, "We're narrowing our suspect pool down."
Straley has also responded to two domestic violence calls, one of which resulted in an arrest due to a warrant for one of the people involved. He has worked alongside the county sheriff's department which has had an increased presence in the village since the village department has decreased in manpower. Shortly after granting an interview to this reporter, Straley was again working with the sheriff's department. With the help of sheriff's deputies, Straley arrested a Salineville man for aggravated menacing. Court documents indicate this particular individual is already facing receiving stolen property charges for alleged involvement in past burglaries in the area.
"I have been working closely with the sheriff's department in connection to these burglaries," said Straley. "Being new to town it's nice to have cooperation from the sheriff's department, however, they do want us to handle our own cases,"
When he's not out patroling Straley says he's kept busy updating about 970 policies in the department's 400 page policy book. He says he recently finished updating the policies and plans to submit them to council for review.
Straley says that his transition from urban patrol officer to rural police chief has been relatively smooth as he has dealt with similar situations, albeit in a different environment, at his previous job. "It is comparable but on a smaller scale." said Straley "This community is concerned and I'm doing all I can between this office and being on the streets patroling."