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October 22, 2017

10/10/2017 4:29:00 PM
Hamden PD makes pitch for levy
Village officials point out continued need for police department
Hamden Police Chief Kevin Neel and Officer Catherine Scarberry displayed the village’s police car as part of the Open House event on Saturday, Oct. 7. The village is asking local voters to approve a six-mill renewal levy in the upcoming general election. (Telegram Photo By Red Thompson, Jr.)

Hamden Police Chief Kevin Neel and Officer Catherine Scarberry displayed the village’s police car as part of the Open House event on Saturday, Oct. 7. The village is asking local voters to approve a six-mill renewal levy in the upcoming general election. (Telegram Photo By Red Thompson, Jr.)

Staff Writer

Over the past five years, the Hamden Police Department has grown and has been dedicated to making the village safer through community policing, crime investigations, responding to calls, and patrolling.

On Saturday afternoon, Oct. 7, both Police Chief Kevin Neel and Officer Catherine Scarberry were part of an Open House event designed to encourage the public to approve the upcoming six-mill, five-year renewal levy which is on the Nov. 7 general-election ballot. As it is a renewal issue, its passage would not result in any tax increase for the residents; they would pay the same as in the past.

Neel explained the department has handled cases involving domestic violence, assaults, thefts, bad checks, criminal damaging, suicide attempts, vandalism, drug-related incidents, and many others. They have also taken care of traffic-related situations, helped lost children and responded to many other types of incidents. Neel and Scarberry also have attended training sessions and seminars in order to become better police officers and operate a quality police department. The chief also explained the department has found criminals trying to hide in the village who were wanted on national warrants.

"We are not a good hiding place for people who have committed crimes," said Neel.

Part of the event involved allowing people to look at the police car and see its safety and emergency features. Also during the event, officers passed out police badges and model police cars to children as well as fingerprint identification cards so adults can keep their children's vital information. Aside from the activities, there were also hot dogs and cookies served and water bottles distributed.

Vinton County Health Dept.

Fiscal Officer Susan Neri told The Telegram the department has been a revenue-producer and not a financial liability for the village. She noted that anyone who wants to pick up the financial reports may request a copy at the village hall.

Neri added the continuation of a strong police department is important to the village because it helps attract businesses and new homeowners. A Dollar General Store is under construction and there has been talk in the village of the old restaurant reopening or a new one being built. She also adds there are more tourists and the community is becoming a nice place to live with new sidewalks, utilities, the South Elementary School, and quality neighborhoods.

As for the future, Chief Neel says he plans to approach council about the addition of a part-time officer and to continue in the strong tradition of sound community policing.

Neel wanted to remind people the crime rate was high when the police department was approved and established. The chief hopes citizens would rather have a local police department in place instead of waiting on a deputy sheriff to respond. While appreciating the deputies' good work and assistance, Chief Neel points out no one knows where a deputy may be in the county when a crime is committed in the village.

As far as the Open House is concerned, Chief Neel thanked everyone for attending. He added the department has done its collective best to be a good asset and investment for the community.

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