More than two-thirds of Miami Twp. voters earlier this month favored renewing a police levy, which officials said supports the department’s climb from a rocky period earlier this decade..
The backing is six years removed from a levy defeat amid the departure of the township’s police chief after the deputy chief was accused of misconduct and left with a termination agreement. Or, as current Police Chief Ron Hess referenced the period, “all of the controversy here.”
“I think the police department is doing an outstanding job, and the community is seeing that,” Miami Twp. Trustee President John Morris said about the strong support for the 5.25-mill, five-year levy, the best for a police levy in the township this century.
The retirement of Chief John “Chris” Krug in 2013 followed the departure of Deputy Chief John DiPietro. Accusations against DiPietro stemmed from his role in the decontamination of a naked 17-year-old female who had been pepper sprayed.
Since then, Hess – hired in the aftermath from Miamisburg — has restructured the department and hired seasoned captains. The department has also received nationwide acclaim for its community outreach and — for the first time in more than 20 years — regained national accreditation, bolstering its “professionalism,” Hess said.
The 67.27 percent of votes the Miami Twp. police levy renewal received was among the most supported of the more than 20 tax issues in Montgomery County on the Nov. 6 ballot, according to the board of elections results. Only fire levy renewals in Miami Twp. (71.42) and Trotwood (69.79), and the city of Oakwood’s operating levy (69.74) received a higher percentage of approval among issues for which at least 2,500 votes were cast, records show.
Miami Twp. voters, Morris said, are “seeing that the investment in their tax dollars are being spent on services.”
Hess said the nearly $2.9 million annually generated by the levy accounts for about half of the department’s $6 million budget. To help stretch those funds and maximize resources, Hess said he plans to use money from law enforcement seizures to pay for equipment and technology upgrades.
Most recently, township trustees approved a plan for Hess, who has been serving as acting administrator, to contract with LexisNexis for software that will help trim time officers spend at crash scenes.
Morris pointed to two incidents this year in which township police took steps resolve crimes initiated in neighboring communities.
One was the Sept. 11 apprehension of a car theft suspect who Moraine police said fled from a traffic stop, prompting a deadly high-speed chase down Ohio 741. Moraine’s chase ended when its cruiser collided with a car driven by local Realtor Mary Taulbee, an uninvolved motorist who died from the wreck.
The other happened in February, when the escape of an armed robbery suspect in Miamisburg was thwarted by an off-duty Miami Twp. officer, who wounded the Dayton man as he sought to flee. The officer, James Swearingen, was later honored by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office with a valor award.
“Our police department is there doing the right thing, right away,” Morris said. “So the community’s seeing the result of an investment in the police department and they’re supporting it.”
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