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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

Tiffany Jones October 24, 2012 at 01:56 PM
REALLY? Am I not understanding correctly that homeowners/resident of Kent WOULD be responsible for paying the difference between the tax rate the city which they work in charges and the 2.5% Kent charges? At 2.5% kent would be among the highest rates in the state, so in most cases citizens would either have to make arrangements to have the extra money withheld or owe at tax time? And with Kent recently joining with RITA they would have a very "efficient" method of collecting these monies. (How convenient, almost as though this was all part of the plan!) http://www.ritaohio.com/faqs/liveworkexamples.htm
Chris (Kit) Myers October 24, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Julie! It won't affect home owners because it will be paid for by income tax? Since when don't home owners pay income tax? Am I missing something here?
Matt Fredmonsky October 24, 2012 at 02:01 PM
The proposed increase is 0.25 percent, so if approved Kent's tax rate would increase to 2.25 percent — not 2.5 percent.
Tiffany Jones October 24, 2012 at 03:02 PM
thank you for the correction! .25% is large difference! too large in this case!! ;)
Teresa K. October 24, 2012 at 04:06 PM
chris: if you're missing something, I am too. I think what she meant is: property taxes wont go up just people who pay Kent City Income tax? On another note: if any other city but mine was asking for Money to build a new bigger, better police station, by all means, I AM FOR IT. Just not my city this year.
Jon Ridinger October 24, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Julie is right, this isn't a property tax issue, but seeing as the majority of Kent residents aren't property owners, it's really irrelevant. This will affect homeowners and anyone who lives in and/or works in the city of Kent. Even if you don't work in Kent (but live here), at tax time you will be responsible for paying the difference between whatever you pay in income tax to the city you work in and Kent's new rate (that already happens if you work in a city that has an income tax rate below 2%). For property owners who live in the city and own property in the city, you have a chance to not only see your income tax rate go up, but also your property taxes go up when the school district levy is on the ballot in March. As I have said before, I fully understand and support *the need* for a new police facility; it's the manner in which the city feels it should be paid for that I disagree with and why I will be voting no.
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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