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Grant would pay for traffic officer in Medina

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MEDINA — The city will apply for an Edward Bryne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant worth $115,889.

City Council unanimously approved a resolution to apply for the grant Tuesday night.

If successful, the funds will offset the salary of one traffic enforcement officer on the Medina Police Department.

“We have an overwhelming amount of traffic complaints,” Police Chief Ed Kinney said.

He said a new officer won’t be hired. An existing officer will be shifted over to become a traffic officer dedicated to handle complaints, investigate traffic cases, follow up hit-skip collisions and look into school bus violations.

Kinney said his officers are doing an outstanding job with traffic enforcement, but with 8,594 traffic stops in 2018 and 3,191 citations issued, he said it’s clear this effort is not enough.

The department received 563 citizen complaints about traffic issues and 92 school bus complaints in 2018.

He said the department owns four data recording speed signs, which he called traffic-calming devices.

The signs help the department analyze data and see if traffic complaints in the area are valid.

The department strategically moves the signs around the city to collect data.

The signs revealed speeds averaging 55 mph on streets where the posted speed is 25 or 35 miles per hour. Kinney said crashes increased 9.8 percent in 2018.

He said the grant will give the police department the ability to reduce speeds and make the community safer.

The city would have to match 25 percent of the JAG grant in the first year.

The grant can be renewed for three additional years with the state paying 75 percent and the city 25 percent for 2021, 50-50 in 2022 and 25-75 in 2023.

The city must apply by June 3, which is why it was passed with an emergency clause during the meeting.

Grant notification will be Nov. 15. It will be awarded Jan. 1.

Kinney said he doesn’t have a person in mind to become traffic officer. In fact, he hasn’t discussed the entire project with his force as of yet.

The JAG program, administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, is the leading federal source of criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions.

The program provides funding for law enforcement, courts, drug treatment and many other areas.

Kinney said even if the city is not successful, he plans to carry through with the initiative.

The chief said he currently has 37 officers, two below full staff.

In other news

City leaders met with Carlisle Brake on Friday about complaints it has received about loud noise and strong smells at its plant.

Resident Dan White of Norwegian Wood Drive said he was at Council Tuesday to find a solution to the loud noise.

Mayor Dennis Hanwell, Ward 4 Councilman Jim Shields, Chief Building Official Dan Gladish and Community Development Director Jonathan Mendel met with Carlisle officials.

“They were very open in trying to be good neighbors,” Shields said.

Carlisle officials said they don’t have it in their budget to build a sound wall at this time. Shields said the city will look into finding a grant to help pay for a wall.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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