SPRINGFIELD TWP.  Township Trustee Dean Young said the Board is evaluating the needs of the Parks Department and made a motion to approve a resolution declaring it necessary to place an additional 1.8-mill tax levy for purposes of parks and recreation during the Jan. 12 Springfield Township Board of Trustees meeting.

"This resolution will ask the county fiscal officer what that would bring, and would be subject to a decision by the board probably, within the next month," Young said.

New Officers and fitness

At the meeting, Police Chief Dave Hoover introduced the three new officers who were sworn in a couple of weeks prior - Shawn Brady, Mike Roberts and Patrick Szuhay.

Hoover also introduced officers who went above and beyond in physical fitness. Hoover said he places emphasizes on physical fitness and the officers went above and beyond and passed the SWAT fiscal fitness program.

Hoover added that physical fitness makes for healthier officers, reduces high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes and stress. Hoover said being physically fit helps extend careers, and saves on injuries, health care costs and leads to fewer sick days being used.

"An officer being shot is the No. 1 danger that you worry about, but the second thing that happens to cause injury or death to an officer is car accidents, and third is heart attacks," said Hoover. "A professional looking officer also helps to combat the negative stereotype of a doughnut eating cop ... even though we like doughnuts. You can still have doughnuts, but still be in shape.. I don't expect our officers to be an Arnold Schwarzenegger, but being in shape so that if they are fighting with a suspect, by being in shape, they can defend themselves or our citizens."

Each officer received a certificate and pin that they can wear on their uniform. The officers honored were Sgt. Joe Gaffney, Community Policing Officer Dan Rafferty, Officer Eric Glass and Officer Zach Flack.

Springfield Explorer program

Gaffney told trustees the department is three years into the Springfield Explorers, a program that reaches out to students who are considering a career in law enforcment.

"It has been a great program, it has really taken off and I think it is bringing our community very close," said Gaffney, the program's director.  

Gaffney said that those who started in the program program's beginning are now beginning at the police academy. Members of the post that were present were Collin Heffner, Eric Ford, Franny Thurston, Mathew Kinney, Brooke Eitner, Luke Chapman, and Danny Chapman. Gaffney said the grade-point averages of the students in the program are great, and they are into sports.

"I get real good reports on them from the school," Gaffney said.

Gaffney thanked Dick and Linda Lohr for their help. The program was Dick Lohr's idea and he and Linda keep tabs on the kids. Linda does all of the paper work for the Explorers Post.

"She is like a grandma; I know she is to me and Dan (Rafferty) and is looking out for us," Gaffney said. "Whenever they (Explorers) are out riding, I get a message that I better bring them to the house, and she is always feeding them."

Gaffney said he was an explorer and it was a very positive experience. He thanked the community for its support.

Linda said, during her VASP report, that she was proud of Shawn Brady, who began as a VASP (Volunteer Auxiliary Springfield Police) member. She added that December was a busy month for VASP with the Shop With A Cop program. The members had  220.5 hours during December.

"This was the biggest Shop With A Cop program we have had," she said.

Lights come down

Director of Parks and Recreation, Doug Foltz reported that they have been repairing mowers and are taking Christmas lights down. He said master gardeners are going to do programming during the demonstration garden at the lake every Tuesday in the spring. More information is to come on events.

The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. tonight at Town Hall on Canfield Road.