Leo Wixom III, Archbold police chief, said he wants to increase alcohol- and drugrelated offenses on his yearend report for 2018.
“I know that may not sound good, but I think we need to take a little more action on those offenses,” Wixom told Archbold Village Council during its Monday, Jan. 15 meeting.
“We do have a MAN Unit guy that’s undercover, doing that kind of stuff, so last year, with only 12 cases reported, I want to challenge him a little more,” he said.
The MAN Unit, formally known as the Multi-Area Narcotics Task Force, is a specialized unit that targets drug crimes.
When a police agency joins the MAN Unit, one officer is dedicated to the unit fulltime, and the agency pays a yearly fee.
After being absent from MAN for several years, Archbold rejoined in 2014.
“I know he (the Archbold MAN Unit officer) is busy helping other agencies within that unit, but I want to kind of direct him more within the village,” Wixom said.
In a later interview, Wixom said he believes there is drug activity going on in the village that has not been detected.
Wixom said for 2018, he added money to his budget to cover some traffic-enforcement
In a blitz, officers work outside of their normal shifts for overtime pay. During the overtime hours, officers specifically target traffic offenses.
There is grant funding available to pay for traffic blitzes, but when he was developing the 2018 budget, Wixom said he didn’t have time to secure grant funds.
Grant funding is something that can be addressed in the future, he said.
Wixom pointed out an increase in the number of traffic stops in the 2017 year-end report.
That he said, is because “we have a couple of guys who are really starting to en- joy doing traffic enforcement.
“I’m not getting any complaints from citizens that they’re getting tickets, so they’re doing something right.
“Obviously, no one likes to get a ticket, but when I cannot get a complaint from a citizen… that’s always a good day.”
Wixom said there was an increase in sex offenses on the report, but he said those reports are anywhere from one or two, to as many as ten, years old.
Nevertheless, the two officers who are qualified to work sex crimes have looked into the reports.
Any decision about charges is up to the Fulton County prosecutor office, he said.
Kevin Morton, a councilman, said he had been hearing people grumble about officers marking tires in the downtown district.
An officer makes a chalk mark on the tire of a vehicle parked in an area with a three-hour parking limit. If the vehicle, and the chalk mark, have not moved when the officer returns three or more hours later, the owner can be given a citation.
With the roster down one officer, Wixom said he has night-duty officers coming in early. Those officers are doing things they normally don’t get to do.
Parking laws “need to be enforced,” he said.
Jeff Fryman, mayor, clarified that police are marking tires only for parking enforcement, not to keep track of who has been parked outside of a bar.
In response to a question from Kevin Eicher, councilman, Wixom said police are in the process of educating the public about the village sidewalk snow removal ordinance.
Anytime there is a snowfall in the village, the ordinance requires that property owners remove snow from their sidewalks within 48 hours after the snowfall stops.
Council approved the ordinance in May 2016.
Wixom told council enforcing the snow removal ordinance will be “a long, drawnout process.
“There’s a lot of people that don’t know that ordinance exists, even though we’ve printed it in the paper, we’ve sent notices out with the water bills; they still don’t comprehend what they have to do,” he said.
“So instead of policing it right now, we’re going to do an educational contact with these people. We’re just printing off a copy of the ordinance.
“If the sidewalk isn’t cleared, we’re giving them a copy of it.
“We’re going to have to start enforcing it at some point, but we’re basically giving everybody a mulligan right now, just to get them information about it.”
Wixom said one man in particular walks for exercise. He turns in people who do not have sidewalks cleared.
“I told him it’s going to be a slow process of educating all of these people, because we’re not going to go out and just start citing everybody under the sun for this,” he said.
“It’s just going to be a long, slow process.”