On April 4, 2010, I was appointed to the position of Police Chief for the Village of Newcomerstown. During this time, we have experienced economic hardship created by the loss of local business and budgetary reduction created by the state government. Because of the reduction in funds over the last five years, the police department has lost approximately 35 percent of its operating budget. Because of this, we have experienced a police staffing reduction from eight full-time officers to three full-time officers. To offset this coverage and a reduction in hours, we have staffed part-time officers to fill this void.
These budget restrictions have also effected the purchase of vehicles, as well as updating and meeting the needs of other equipment and training requirements. As many of you may be aware, the only vehicles purchased over the past several years has been for the purchase of two used cruisers, a 2009, and a 2011 that have a combined total cost to the department of $8,500 and the remaining vehicle in the fleet has an excess of 200,000 miles and was purchased in 2008. As you can see within the police department, we have attempted to hold cost down and show that we are good stewards of our tax dollars.
I come to the citizens to make a plea for support of Issue 35 that will be placed on the ballot on Nov. 3, 2015. These funds will be used to upgrade outdated equipment and to increase staffing and promote a better wage so that we can retain good officers' instead of providing a training ground for other agencies. I believe the record of the police department speaks for itself. The officers have increased and executed a large number of warrants in an effort to remove drugs and drug dealers from our streets. Their professionalism has not wavered from the difficult task they are asked to perform.
We have implemented a senior citizen program as well as an educational programs for children. These programs are essential for our community, along with our crime prevention programs. At this time, we are moving in a positive direction with finances in the village and will soon be free of this economic crisis; but in an effort to make our department more proactive instead of reactive in the future, we are asking for your support with a yes vote on Issue 35 come Nov. 3, 2015.
Gary Holland, Chief of Police