By Nathan Pilling
BEAVERCREEK — Beavercreek’s police chief is requesting additional staff for the city’s police department, partially in an effort to maintain the city’s proactive policing model, he said Monday.
At a Beavercreek City Council work session Monday night, police chief Dennis Evers suggested adding three to five police officers, three additional communications operators, one additional clerk, as well as increasing an administrative assistant’s hours during the week.
The city’s police department is currently authorized by council to have 48 members on staff, two more than was authorized in 1996, according to Evers.
According to US Census Bureau data, the city’s population grew about 25 percent, from about 36,700 to about 46,000, from 1996 to 2014.
Evers said the department is “spread thin” with two officers committed to city schools, two committed to the Greene County ACE Task Force, some individuals on injury leave and one officer on administrative leave “with no end in sight” in association with the John Crawford III Wal-Mart incident in 2014.
The additional officers would be needed to continue using the “proactive policing model” the department adopted in 1998, according to Evers. The model seeks to increase proactive and preventative initiatives throughout the community, as opposed to a reactive model that chases problems, according to Evers.
The communications operators would be needed in response to new Ohio Department of Administrative Services rules, which require two dispatchers to be on duty and available to receive and process emergency calls at all times. The department would be required to be compliant by May 2018 or it would face losing about $100,000 a year in 911 funding, Evers said.
The additional clerk would aid in fulfilling public records requests and would deal with video redaction associated with implementing a police body camera program, according to Evers.
“We’ve worked very hard over the last 20 years to put us in the position we’re in right now,” Evers said. “I just want to make sure that we’re recognizing, when incident [call] numbers go up and officer staffing is at an optimum level … we’re going to see a reduction in those crime numbers. We want to keep that trend. That’s the trend we want to see.”
The staffing changes could mean voters could be asked to consider a larger police levy when the current levy expires in tax year 2018, with collections in 2019.
“What I don’t want to happen is that we fall behind and we start chasing the [crime] problem,” Evers said. “When that happens it’s very, very difficult to reverse.”
“We have a relatively safe community,” he said. “I’d like to keep it that way.”
Reach Nathan Pilling at 937-502-4498 or on Twitter @XDGNatePilling.