Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Police Commission revisits issue of teens driving golf carts

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Last month the Chesterton Tribune reported that, per a new state law which took effect on Jan. 1, juveniles 16 and older are now permitted to operate golf carts on public roadways in Indiana with only a valid state-issued identification card.

That requirement is a significant lowering of the previous threshold, which required 16-year-olds to possess a driver’s license in order to operate golf carts on public rights-of-way.

And--as Chesterton Police Chief Dave Cincoski reads the new law--the town’s golf-cart ordinance will need to be amended to reflect Indiana Code.

The Tribune’s story on the new law, published on Dec. 15, has occasioned at least one response, however: an anonymous note sent to the CPD, in which the writer speaks of teens “loaded into carts driving wildly on Waverly Road and through Chesterton and Porter.”

The writer also complains about slow-moving carts backing up traffic, parking in handicapped spaces, ignoring traffic laws, and crossing Ind. 49; as well as about golf-cart operators who are not required to obtain insurance coverage.

At the Police Commission’s meeting Thursday night, Cincoski spent a few minutes responding to the note. First, Cincoski said, while he believes that the new law would require an amendment to Town Code lowering the threshold of responsibility, he has asked Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann for his opinion on the matter.

Second, Cincoski said that he’s not familiar with Porter Town Code on the issue of golf carts but that in Chesterton he would encourage all residents who see flagrant violations of traffic law--or handicapped parking law--committed by golf-cart operators to immediately report them to the CPD.

Third, should a golf cart be involved in a traffic accident, there are civil remedies which motorists can pursue in the absence of a golf-cart operator’s insurance coverage.

And fourth, Town Code explicitly forbids golf-cart operators from crossing Ind. 49.

Indiana Association of

Chiefs of Police

In other business, Cincoski told the commission that, late this month at its annual conference, he will be elected to the position of vice-president of the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). He will serve in that position throughout 2018 and then assume the presidency in 2019.

“Congratulations,” Member Tim Scheerer said. “That’s an honor.”

“It is an honor,” Cincoski acknowledged. “And work.”

Cincoski noted that he will also be participating in a panel discussion on officer training at the IACP conference.

Hiring Update

Meanwhile, Cincoski reported that the CPD has received approximately half a dozen applications under an emergency hire initiative approved last fall. Cincoski is looking to offer a lateral transfer position to a sworn officer from another department who has at least three years of experience and who has already graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. On successfully completing a six-month probationary period, the officer would immediately be promoted to 1st Class officer and receive that salary and benefits which go with the promotion.

Cincoski said that he’s scheduled written testing for the applicants on Jan. 30, after which background investigations will begin on those who pass the tests.

Cincoski also reported that Probationary Officers Alexias DeJesus and Kaitlin Bruning will begin their course of training at the Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Hobart on Jan. 22.

With Gratitude

* The family of the late Dirk Baer, former superintendent of the Duneland Schools and former member of the Chesterton Police Commission, expressed its gratitude to the CPD for its flower tribute at the funeral. Baer died on Dec. 24 at age 62. Member Pete Duda said that he attended Baer’s visitation and spoke with family members, who told him that “Dirk would speak about his time on the commission all the time, how big a kick he got out of it.”

* The commission expressed its own gratitude to Darlene Manuzzi for her generous contribution of $500 to the CPD Gift Fund. “That’s very nice,” Scheerer said. “It’s really very nice.”

* And Cincoski expressed his gratitude to Heather Schlegelmilch of Avalon Springs Health Campus, which on National Police Officer Awareness Day sent a goodie basket to the CPD, which included--among other things--Lifesavers (“Because you are one!”), Paydays (“Because you don’t do it for the money!”), and gum (“To help your unit stick together!”).

December in Review

In December the CPD responded to 687 calls (634 in November), filed 52 cases (63), issued 72 citations and 84 warnings (64 and 59), and investigated 44 accidents with eight injuries (21 accidents with four injuries).

Calls for service in December included 87 suspicious persons or vehicles (77 in November), six thefts (12), three incidents of vandalism (five), one overdose (zero), 41 alarms (38), eight animal complaints (two), 226 traffic stops (220), one missing person (one), two burglaries (one), 19 disturbances (24), six reports of fraud (seven), and one runaway (four).

 

 

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