Community policing to start in August

LIMA — Progress is continuing in the development of a community policing program, according to Lima Police Department Chief Kevin Martin.

Earlier this year, Lima City Council approved more than $220,000 to come out of this year’s budget to fund the program’s creation, which involves placing an experienced officer in a police substation in a high-crime area to form relationships with area residents, fostering an atmosphere of trust and cooperation between the police and the public.

“Things are going well,” Martin said. “We’re still looking at a target date of getting the substations opened up in August.”

Martin said that the department’s majors were still interviewing officers interested in the community-oriented policing program and should have those positions filled by the middle of this month.

“We’ll have them going to community groups, service organizations and whoever wants to talk to them giving people an idea of what they’re going to do,” he said.

However, the department has run into some setbacks with filling the rest of the nine total positions available within the department.

“We’re a little bit behind where we want to be,” he said. “To my knowledge, this is the most officers we’ve ever hired in a single process in my time here.”

Another challenge the department is facing is determining the exact locations of the substations.

“We are looking for locations that will allow for some flexibility if we start seeing a shift in crime patterns,” Martin said. “We do expect to see that, especially as we are able to apply more pressure on specific crime problems and crime locations. When people feel uncomfortable committing a crime in one area, they will want to move to another.”

Part of the hierarchy in this new program has already been set, with Lt. Andy Green and Sgt. Jason Garlock appointed to oversee the program. Both Green and Garlock will be involved in the hiring decisions for community police officers, Martin said.

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