Centerville shopping for new police vehicle

Centerville council learned about upcoming personnel changes at its police and fire departments, and supported the purchase of a new police vehicle.

Police Chief Ed Buchholz announced at the council’s March 14 meeting that he has conditionally hired current reserve officer Mason Hale to fill a vacancy in the department, pending final testing. Hale could start in early April.

Buchholz is pleased about the addition of Hale, a 2020 Centerville graduate who interned with CPD while in high school.

In addition, Buchholz has recruited a new reserve officer, Clarissa Walls. The northern Fayette County resident has served in the military police and has been a dispatcher for Indiana State Police and a National Guard Reserve recruiter.

“I think she’s going to be a wonderful addition to the department,” Buchholz said.

Buchholz sought the council’s approval to add another Chevrolet Tahoe to the department’s fleet. CPD ordered one early in 2022 that’s to arrive in the coming weeks, and Buchholz wants to get another ordered now for 2024 delivery.

The council gave Buchholz the green light to pursue the Tahoe for about the same price as last year’s purchase (approximately $46,000 plus emergency equipment installation).

The council, Clerk-Treasurer Richard Tincher and Town Attorney Ed Martin will consider how much of the town’s American Rescue Plan and opioid settlement funds, if any, can be used toward the Tahoe, and determine the funding sources at a future meeting. Councilor Josh Tudor was absent.

CPD still relies on a 2011 Tahoe and an aging Ford Taurus that recently received new brakes, hubs and tires that Buchholz would like to keep as a spare vehicle, but the Taurus is going to be on the road when a new officer joins the department.

Also with the council’s support, Buchholz will begin shopping for new radios for CPD and Centerville Fire/Rescue that will be compatible with those of Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. If possible, they’d like to save money by coordinating the purchase with other area first responders.

Meanwhile, Fire/Rescue Chief Dennis Spears read a letter from Duane McDonald, who is resigning as assistant chief from the department to pursue a faith-led calling outside the town. McDonald is a 30-year member and also serves as apparatus and maintenance supervisor.

To counteract the sad news, Spears said the auxiliary’s chicken noodle dinner netted more than $2,000, and many more customers ate in the station this year instead of requesting carryout.

In other business

Electric rates: The council conducted a second reading on an ordinance to correct the electric rates already approved. A public hearing and special meeting were to take place March 20 for final approval.

Next public meetings: Plan commission, 7 p.m. March 23; council work session, 7 p.m. March 28. All in town hall.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 22 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.