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Letter: Kent Police Need New Jail, Police Station

Send your letters to the editor to Matt Fredmonsky via email at Matt.Fredmonsky@Patch.com

I wanted to share my perspective on Issue 11, a new building for the Kent Police Department.  

I work part-time as a detention officer. The job is not my main source of income and I do not live in Kent, so I cannot vote for it.  However, I am in favor of Issue 11 and support the increased income tax. I will pay for a new building.   

The jail does not meet the American Standards for jails, however, it is "grandfathered" and currently remains open. My observation is the following: if it were to close, there would be no need for jailers and Kent Police officers would be on the road less. Any arrest would require a police officer to conduct the booking process (a minimum of 30 minutes on a good day). Then they would be required to remain on station until someone could pick up the arrestee.

Too often, officers respond to domestic violence situations as well as drunk-driving traffic offenses. These incidents take time to work through. Other nights, someone is too intoxicated to book in and they are arrested because they cannot care for themselves. An officer would need to be present until they sober up and can be released. Others become extremely agitated and cannot remain in the community for public safety reasons.

The alternative to maintaining a jail in Kent would be to transport prisoners to the county jail. Holding a prisoner at the Portage County Sheriff's Office also costs the city a housing fee. Travel to Ravenna and the transfer process alone takes a minimum of 45 minutes. This is another officer that could not patrol during that time.

This issue will not affect home owners. It will be paid for by income tax. Thanks to all those who took the time to tour KPD, so you may vote intelligently. There are actually two more weekends of tours: Sunday, Oct. 28, noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 3, from noon to 4 p.m. These are the last scheduled tour dates open to the public. I encourage you to take this time and be an informed voter!

Sincerely,


Julie Loomis
Streetsboro

Concerned Neighbor October 24, 2012 at 11:57 PM
The police protect everyone in the city, not just those that have income. (Maybe those with income need protection from those without income?) A question here. I have had this happen to me before. A person paying another city tax at more than 2%, will only receive a 2% credit paid the other city. So, not only will that person pay the other city more than 2%, they will still owe Kent .25% of their income. Is it structured this way? I suggest the police protect all those owning property and those present on property, in the city. While I'm not in favor of ANY new tax at this point in economic history, it does seem a bit more fair that this need be taxed by parcel in some way. I also see a number of empty buildings around town that could be pressed into use, likely for a lot less than a brand new building on new property somewhere. For instance the OLD Amtek building? We own it. We are getting a million plus from the state to clean it up. Lets 'clean it up' into a new police station, even a large city jail where we could create jobs and generate revenue from other communities that need jail space. If that's too big a building then the cash from the eventual sale should be earmarked for this use. I think our police do a great job and probably need a new facility, but it doesn't seem all options have been explored. I don't believe the funding is being done in a fair way. I will be voting NO.
barack November 01, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Just an update...Two Detention Officers (including Julie Loomis) were assaulted by a combative prisoner this past weekend. The assault took place in the antiquated Kent City Jail, while the Detention Officers were processing arrests from Kent's unofficial Halloween "celebration". Officer safety is important, and I hope serious consideration is given in supporting Issue 11.
Chris (Kit) Myers November 01, 2012 at 02:34 AM
It could happen anywhere. You're reaching.
Teresa K. November 01, 2012 at 03:14 AM
I wonder if this is the first year a Detention Officer was assaulted after Halloween festivities? Barack: And you believe this assault was directly due to the antiquated police department affecting the Prisoners and making them more aggressive? I'm thinking it was more like the weather... it put everyone in a down, hostile mood. I am sure that is one drunk ( I'm assuming) who won't ever assault an officer again. I hope the Detention Officers are ok.
barack November 01, 2012 at 09:14 AM
@Kip: that's not a reach, just a fact. Have you visited the KPD facilities recently? If yes, can you honestly say the facilities pose a risk to the safety to staff? Or should we just expect staff to be expendable?

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