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Roanoke discusses needs of officers

During the last Roanoke Town Council meeting of 2021 on Tuesday, Dec. 21, Town Marshal Jim Wood presented figures for Deputy Marshal Grant Baumgartner’s new vehicle, as well as updates on their animal control agreement and interest in getting their own K-9 officer.

Wood explained that the vehicle they were looking at for Baumgartner was a Ford Interceptor, which is a Ford Explorer that has been “specifically built for law enforcement.” The baseline for the vehicle was $31,750.25, but with the added features they wanted for Baumgartner’s vehicle, the total cost would be $56,070.25.

“If we ordered a vehicle today, we would not see that vehicle until April, so if we ordered a vehicle in January, we are looking at May,” Wood explained.
Wood also said that the money for the vehicle isn’t due until they pick it up and he confirmed with Clerk-Treasurer Sarah Milton that the department should have that money available by that time.

That being said, Wood asked if he could proceed with doing a letter of purchase to “the Ford dealership that handles government contracts.”
Council President Dave Meitzler asked if a bigger engine could be used for the police vehicle.

When Wood mentioned that to a representative he spoke to, the representative said that the next step would be a dual turbo engine that would cost $12,000 to $13,000 more. The representative also said that they are starting to have maintenance issues with the dual turbo engines.

Councilman Pat Scher asked if Wood had looked into getting a Dodge. Wood confirmed that he had, but the Dodge vehicles were more expensive.
After more discussion, the council approved Wood to write the letter of purchase.

Wood also presented the animal control agreement with the Huntington County Humane Society to the council. If Roanoke did an unlimited, annual contract, it would be $5,000.

However, Wood recommended that they go with the second option, which was for the town to pay as they go. Wood’s reasoning was because he only took two dogs to the shelter last year.

“Typically, when we get a dog, we bring him back here to the office, we hit Facebook and within an hour to two hours, we’ve got the owners coming to pick their dog up,” Wood said.

Council Vice President Joan Abbott asked if this would include when citizens call animal control and Wood explained that this specific contract is for the officers only.

The council approved Wood’s recommendation to pay as they go with the humane society.

Last, Wood asked council for their thoughts on introducing a K-9 officer for the Town of Roanoke.

“Right now we are down to one K-9 officer in the county,” Wood said. “The goal is to not to have any cost to the Town of Roanoke. To have everything done through donations.”

Wood went on to say that they are working on a presentation to give to the council at the beginning of the year, but he wanted to ask for the councils’ thoughts before getting too far into the process.

The council agreed that they would be receptive to hearing the presentation.
In unrelated business, several citizens asked for an update on the proceedings of the demolition of the house on 775 Seminary St. Superintendent of Operations Aaron Popplewell reported that the electrical was disconnected. As of the time of the council meeting, Popplewell was waiting on word from NIPSCO. He said that NIPSCO told them that they had to dig down to the main to disconnect.

“As soon as they’re done disconnecting it, Amor is ready to get in there,” Popplewell said.

Town Marshal Wood confirmed that NIPSCO would be working on it beginning on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

In other business:
• Both Ordinance 2021-27 Salary (Employees) Ordinance for 2022 and Ordinance 2021-28 Salary (Elected Officials) Ordinance for 2022 were approved by the council.
• Clerk-Treasurer Milton presented Resolution 2021-06 Authorizing Dormant Fund Transfer. She explained they had several dormant accounts “just sitting there” since before she started working there and she needed approval to move those funds into the general fund. The council approved the resolution.