Police and fire to increase staff, engage community

by Laura Bednar

The police, fire and administration departments presented their 2022 annual reports, highlighting accomplishments in the past year and goals for 2023.

Police Chief and Township Administrator Vito Sinopoli said the police department received 16,521 total calls in 2022. Of those calls, 58% were community policing, which includes area checks, park, walk and school checks. He noted an increase in thefts, especially in the Montrose area, though the category also includes fraud cases in which a victim loses money.

The police department received several grants including a $230,826 Ohio Criminal Justice Service grant for staff retention bonuses, a $165,325 grant from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency for mobile radios, and a $53,000 grant from the OCJS for body cameras.

Looking ahead, Sinopoli said the department plans to continue community engagement, increase police and dispatch staffing, and execute a joint training mission with the Revere Local School District to simulate an active shooter event. This will take place in August and include several surrounding law enforcement agencies.

Police are currently searching for a full-time communications specialist for the dispatch center. Applications are open through March 24.

Fire Chief Robert Campbell said the total number of calls for 2022 was 1,559, a record high for Bath Fire. This surpassed last year’s call total by about 15. Bath Fire added two new full-time firefighters to the force but lost several part-time firefighters. The department currently has 23 part-time firefighters, which is less than half of what the department had just five years ago, according to Campbell.

The department’s goals for 2023 are to hire additional part-time staff, develop a plan to renovate or replace Station No. 1, fill the assistant chief position and work on a residential bridge certification program. In this program, residents must have an engineer inspect bridges on their property to ensure fire vehicles and equipment can safely drive on them. “People assume anything can cross it, but they don’t realize what our trucks weigh,” Campbell said.

Bath Township trustees approved a payment of $649,950 for a new fire truck to be delivered mid-March.

The administration department plans to continue with the sidewalk project on state Route 18. Phase I created a sidewalk along the north side of Route 18 from Cleveland-Massillon Road to the entrance to the former Holiday Inn. Phase II will build sidewalks on the west side of North Cleveland Massillon Road from state Route 18 to Springside Drive, with construction slated for 2024. The final phase of sidewalks along Springside Drive is not slated for construction until 2027.

In 2023, the township will work with the Summit County Engineer’s Office to ensure timeline compliance with the sidewalk project, administer state capital grant funds for the North Fork Preserve property on Everett Road, and coordinate with Thrasher Group and Summit County regarding the broadband 125-mile fiber loop to extend throughout the county. ∞