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Police Commission joins arms with council in antidrug battle

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The Chesterton Police Commission has joined the Town Council in taking a stand—and making a stand—on drugs in the community.

At the conclusion of its meeting Wednesday, President Joe Wagner read a prepared statement in which he pleaded with residents to acknowledge the extent of the drug problem and the threat which it poses to every family in Chesterton.

The text of that statement:

“I just want to take a few minutes and touch base on our drug problem in the Duneland area. Yes, we have a drug problem. It has hit our area very hard. It is no longer just an adult problem. Now it is affecting our youth too. The time to act is now.

“In Porter County alone many teens have lost their lives due to drug overdose. In Chesterton and Porter I found out about five families that lost a child due to this problem and am saddened that I knew some of them.

“We all think that it will never happen to our child. However, none of us is excluded. It could be my child or yours. The drug problem is real and it is here to stay unless we all unite and try to find a solution to this problem. It is a community effort. So let’s get to work and save lives.”

Wagner then invited residents with ideas or suggestions about battling drugs to e-mail him at thecomish01@yahoo.com

Residents with information about drug activity, on the other hand, should contact the Chesterton Police Department at 926-1136 or Bob Taylor, coordinator of the Porter County Drug Task Force, at 465-3629. Residents may also e-mail Taylor at rtaylor@porterco.org

At the council’s meeting Monday, members Mike Bannon, R-5th, and Sharon Darnell, D-4th, also read prepared statements in which they announced the beginning of what they promised to be a hard- and long-fought campaign. The council is now looking—as Wagner is—for grassroots support and hopes to enlist residents in the fight.

Bits and Pieces

•Police Chief George Nelson told members that, in response to the concerns of Member Jim Ton—who is also the principal of Chesterton Middle School—he has reviewed on-street parking at CMS and plans to make the following recommendations today to department heads: the conversion of the angled parking in front of Goldsborough Gym to parallel; the conversion of the parallel parking in front of the east side of the building to angled; and the elimination of parking—possibly only for certain hours of the day—on the north side of West Morgan from Seventh Street to the alley. Members agreed that congestion is bad during drop-off in the morning but especially acute during pick-up in the afternoon, when parents vie for a limited number of spaces as they wait for their children. Nelson noted that he is waiting for Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg to complete a traffic count which will track volume by the time of day.

•Nelson also told members that the CPD has made its newest hire: Nick Brown, who has served as a reserve and part-time officer with other law enforcement agencies in the county. Brown is currently enrolled in the Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy at Indiana University Northwest in Gary and is scheduled to graduate July 2. Meanwhile, Nelson said, the 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Pension and Disability Fund is still vetting one other candidate. Nelson did say that the second candidate—should he be approved by the 1977 POFPDF—will probably undergo the 40-hour pre-basic course and FTO training within the department prior to attending either the NILEA or the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield. Brown and the other candidate will fill positions vacated by the resignation in August of Sgt. Jason Casbon and the termination in September of Cpl. Brian Sweeney.

•Shorthanded though the CPD has been, Ton took a moment at the end of the meeting to remark, “the services provided have been continually upheld,” thanks to the willingness of its officers and personnel to step into the breach when necessary. The hire of Brown and the other candidate will go far to fill gaps in the department’s roster, Ton said, and their contributions will be welcomed. In the meantime, though, Ton expressed his gratitude to everybody “who has gotten the job done even with one hand tied behind the back.”

•Ton read two letters of appreciation from residents: the first from Kim Goldak, who thanked Cpl. Don Maloney and Officer Jamie Nale for helping her family on a personal matter; the second from Eve Edborg, who praised the CPD as a whole for its responsiveness and dedication.

February in Review

In February the CPD responded to 711 calls (718 in January), filed 58 cases (63 in January), issued 67 citations and 68 warnings (54 and 45 in January), filed four felony charges and 20 misdemeanor (13 and 13 in January), served four warrants (six in January), and investigated 30 accidents with five injuries (47 accidents with seven injuries in January).

The CPD also investigated 23 juveniles cases and closed 12 of them (nine and four in January) and filed three felony charges and four misdemeanor (zero and zero in January).

Calls for service included 34 alarms, 10 animal complaints, seven burglaries, 11 domestic calls, one mental case, one natural death, 11 parking violations, two runaways, one sex offense, one shooting, 23 thefts, 143 traffic stops, two train complaints, and six incidents of vandalism.

Calls for service were heaviest on Saturdays, with 124; and lightest on Mondays, with 86.

 

Posted 3/11/2004