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By STUART CASSIDY
CANNELTON -– The Cannelton Police Department is fully staffed. Its newest patrolman, Ryen Foertsch, took up duties earlier this month and is making an impact in the community.
Graduating a 17-week law-enforcement academy, Foertsch was credited with apprehending a suspect who was believed to have committed several vehicle break-ins.
His service was recognized by the Cannelton Board of Public Works, which commended the officer. Police Chief Lee Hall, likewise, gave accolades to Foertsch, who he said has been given strong reviews from the public. Hall cited the officer has “lot of integrity” and is ahead of the curve on many aspects.
Prior to joining the Cannelton department, Foertsch, 33, served five years as a correctional officer at Branchville. He also spent several years as a reserve officer for the Tell City Police Department.
For all of his years of service, Foertsch said he has a strong desire to ensure a safe community for all those he cares about.
In addition to welcoming the patrolman, Hall and the board also recognized the service of another officer.
Having taken on additional duties in a short-staffed department, Patrolman Ash Meserve was promoted to sergeant.
Spending the last three years with the Cannelton Police, Meserve had “pulled a lot of weight here over the last several months,” Hall said. That work included covering shifts when no one was available and coming in when not on duty to assist in whatever way he could.
Working closely with the police staff, and on the board that oversees their operations, Mayor Mary Snyder complimented Meserve on his work ethic, saying the officer is well deserving of the promotion.
Meserve also served five years as a correctional officer at Branchville. He said he and Foertsch worked together there, making the two officers well acquainted with each other. That, Meserve said, should help make for a smooth transition period as each officer gets acclimated to their roles within the department.
In a department now adequately staffed with full-time officers, there are still other part-time needs. Hall requested to employ the services of Mark Poehlein and Brad Douglas as part-time officers. Hall said both serve in deputy capacities for the sheriff’s department and each is academy trained.
The board approved the move.
In addition to the part-timers, Hall is also seeking people interested in serving as reserve officers. He said he currently has just four such officers on the roster and he prefers to maintain eight in order to ensure adequate coverage for the city.
Those selected would be required to complete a 40-hour pre-basic training course, which is typically offered locally, and log at least 16 hours a month on duty.
In other news, Snyder asked the board to be vigilant about residents who leave grass clippings in roadways and along storm gutters. The clippings can impede drainage and have been known to cause problems in the city’s stormwater collection system.
Snyder went on to say there is an ordinance against leaving yard waste in city streets. The practice is a finable offense, with a $25 fee imposed to those who don’t follow the regulation. Fees for subsequent infractions could be higher.
Snyder told the board she sent a violation letter to one resident as a warning, and as a result, that person has stopped cutting their lawn. The mayor warned there are also requirements for lawn maintenance and those who don’t follow them could also face penalties.
• The city sewer and street departments are combating a series of sink holes in the Hamilton Smith Square area of Pleasant Valley. According to sewer superintendent Jerry Ball, attempts to locate a collapsed pipe have been fruitless. The actual culprit, he said, may be a series of faulty joints in the aging clay pipe installed there decades ago.
Ball went on to say they plan to run a camera through the system to evaluate it further. That work is expected to take place when the department starts other similar maintenance near the floodwall.
• Installation of a flood gate along Castlebury Creek could take place this week. The project has been on hold as workers had to wait for dryer weather.