MILFORD — The monthly meeting of the Milford Town Council, held Monday, July 9 was nearly three hours long, due in part to the last-minute cancellation of the June meeting caused by the absence of members Dan Cochran and Bob Cockburn.
Among many developments was Derek Kreider being named school resource officer for a year-long pilot program to provide Milford School students with both protection and mentoring.
Though Town Marshal Travis Marsh was on vacation, Lt. Tim Miller read a short statement from him, in which Marsh said the council “has an opportunity to make an investment in the services it is offering the community.”
Cockburn, who has worked in schools more than 40 years and has a daughter who is a teacher, spoke of the “profound effect” of past programs placing police in the schools, including one in which Miller participated.
“For me, it’s not about mass killing,” stated Cockburn, “but helping kids grow up the way we want them to.”
Kreider’s pay will continue to come from the police fund, and during the summer months will come from parks and other departments for which he will work. Another officer will also be hired as a replacement and paid with money freed up by Milford’s not having to pay ambulance services, thanks to a recent renegotiation of its contract with Lutheran EMS.
The vote to approve an SRO was unanimous; however, Cochran expressed concern taxpayers would have to share a “larger share of the burden” and described the budgetary maneuvers to pay for the position as “smoke and mirrors.”
Council President Doug Ruch said, “I think this is why we pay taxes. We live in a safe environment … now is the time to go forward.”
In response to residents’ questions about Milford’s crime rate, Miller said he responds to as many as four “serious crimes” per month, but emphasized a police officer’s job is more involved. He also responds to roughly three citizens assists per day. Recent incidents, he said, included a fatal car accident, a heroin addict brought back from an overdose with Narcan, and the arrest of a woman seen “shooting up” in a van.
During police reports, the council also approved a salary increase to $43,000 per year for Brandon Shipp who has completed training and is due to start full-time duty.
The council also agreed to the department’s request hours at Waubee Lake Park be made more specific. Rather than closing at “sunset,” the park will now have set hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the spring and summer, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter and fall. The hours will be effective as soon as signs are posted.
The implementation of cameras at Waubee Lake Park has been effective, according to both Miller and Steven Marquart, street superintendent, though Miller indicated more work is being done to make the park more secure from criminal activity.