MEDINA — Chief Ed Kinney said the police department has embarked on several initiatives to connect with the community, re-assert its commitments to the community-policing philosophy and be more proactive.
Mayor Dennis Hanwell said morale and activity levels of the police department staff have improved significantly under Kinney’s leadership.
Hanwell hired Kinney as chief on Oct. 25 and City Council confirmed the appointment Nov. 13. One of Kinney’s first moves as chief was to reactivate the department’s Facebook page, which has more than 12,000 followers, Twitter and Instagram. His belief is that social media are tools Medina police can use to better engage with residents.
The city’s yearend report for 2017, released this week by Hanwell, showed the police department operated without a full-time chief for nearly 10 months. Former chief Patrick Berarducci was on sick leave for several months before eventually retiring.
Hanwell said Lt. Dave Birckbichler did an “exemplary” job of serving as acting chief and keeping the department operational. The mayor said Birckbichler should be recognized for his leadership and commitment to the city.
The report said self-initiated activity by officers — when officers are proactive and initiate police work as opposed to responding to calls — increased dramatically at the end of the year. There were 1,434 self-initiated calls in October, 2,374 in November and 2,266 in December.
The department made 738 arrests last year. That’s a slight decrease from 2016 when there were 755 arrests. The tally for 2015 was 901 arrests and 953 for 2014.
Police responded to 289 theft calls in 2017 and officers were dispatched for 28,620 service calls in 2017.
There were 87 domestic violence arrests in 2017. Police made 7,209 traffic stops and issued 2,336 traffic citations and 2,255 parking citations.
The police department has 39 sworn full-time officers, with some finishing training at the Ohio Highway Patrol Academy.
Officers assigned to the detective bureau investigate felony and misdemeanor cases. The bureau has one supervisor and three detectives, who handled more than 100 cases in 2017, which resulted in 178 indictments, 118 convictions and 55 cases still pending. They also filed 98 juvenile charges.
Officers administered 22 doses of naloxone for overdoses in 2017.
Agents from the Medina County Drug Task Force conducted 55 criminal investigations in the city in 2017. Thirty-four of those investigations were conducted by Medina Detective Dan Warner. The investigations resulted in the arrest of 63 people who were charged with 95 different criminal offenses.
Other highlights of the year-end report included:
- The city coordinated ribbon-cuttings for several new or expanding businesses. Thirty-one new businesses added 228 employees and $38 million in investments, 18 business expansions added 252 new jobs and $68 million in investments, and 28 business renovations invested almost $10 million and nine new employees. Overall, 489 employees were added and $116 million in investments in 2017.
- The Medina Fire Department provides fire, rescue and medical first responder services to the city and Medina and Montville townships and covers 50.4 square miles. The city began exploring a fire district concept that, if implemented, could be more cost-effective for the region. Also, if a district is formed, other townships could be added.
The department includes 50 firefighters and officers. They respond out of six stations and staff 11 primary pieces of fire equipment.
In 2017, firefighters responded to 1,157 calls, including 755 in the city, 256 in Montville and 146 in Medina Township. Also, staff performed 996 fire inspections — 720 in the city, 192 in Montville and 84 in Medina Township.
- Parks director Jansen Wehrley oversees parks, cemetery and forestry divisions. Having all under the umbrella of the Parks and Recreation Department increased operational efficiencies resulting in better service to the public, quicker turnaround on projects and the ability to keep up with preventative maintenance.
The department also maintains the flower urns and planters, which Hanwell said beautifies the Historic District.
The department also has replaced hundreds of trees affected by the emerald ash borer throughout the city.
Medina city parks encompass more than 775 acres. Of that, approximately 182 acres are maintained for public enjoyment.
The city has 13,500 trees in the right-of-way. They are maintained by the city on a five-year pruning cycle. There were 2,649 trees pruned last year.
The cemetery division maintains 35 acres at two locations, Old Town Cemetery and Spring Grove Cemetery.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or email@example.com.