GALION — Galion City Council approved funding for training for the Galion Police Department K9 officer and new vehicles during its meeting on Tuesday.
Passage of Ordinance No. 2019-37 allows for the appropriation of $7,000 from the Drug Law Fund to pay for K9 handler training due to a different officer taking over the duties, according to Galion Police Chief Brian Saterfield.
“I did not count on having change handlers this year,” Saterfield said. “Due to some circumstances in the department, I am changing the K9 handler. (Officer) Andy Rehm is going to be the new K9 handler and I have to get him certified.”
Saterfield said the $7,000 will cover the cost of training, travel, and lodging for Rehm, who is currently receiving instruction at a K9 training facility in Warren.
“This is all money that’s been donated. This is not any general fund money,” Saterfield said. “I still have money left in that fund for this purpose. Andy’s actually in his first week in Warren receiving training. (Police dog) Basco is still doing well. He’s riding with Andy.”
Council also approved the purchase of three new vehicles for the police department. The 2020 Ford Police Interceptors each cost $31,280 and are being bought through the State Purchasing Program from Lebanon Ford, 770 Columbus Ave., Lebanon, Ohio.
Under terms of Ordinance No. 2019-38, the city will enter into a lease purchase agreement with Ford Credit Municipal Finance. The city will make three annual payments of $34,159.77 for a total of $102,479.31, including principal, interest, and fees.
“This is included in this year’s budget. It was discussed with the mayor, safety director, and finance director,” Saterfield told council. “This is an opportunity for us to get three cruisers this year through the lease option program.”
Saterfield said at least three cars in the current cruiser fleet need to be replaced and this move will help improve the fleet.
“I will not be asking for a car for the next two years, but we will ask for a payment (for the new vehicles),” Saterfield said. “What we’ll do is we’ll outfit the cars up front. We’ll pay for that this year. The next two years, budgetwise, we’ll ask for less money than what we have annually for the cruisers.”
The Ford Police Interceptor model is based on the former Explorer model, Saterfield said. The Interceptors are SUVs, which he said will be an upgrade from the Dodge Chargers currently in use.
“(The Chargers) aren’t made for city work and actually the Highway Patrol is starting to go away from them as well because the chassis is just getting destroyed,” Saterfield said.
Safety Town registration underway
Registration for the annual Galion Safety Town event is underway. It’s scheduled July 22-25 at Galion Primary School and is open to any child living in the Galion City Schools district who will be in kindergarten in the upcoming school year. Safety Town will operate from 9 to 11:30 a.m. each day.
“This is a great program that educates our young students,” Saterfield said. “We teach about bicycle safety, how to cross the street, fire safety, and health and hygiene.”
A “Safety City,” featuring miniature buildings and traffic signals, will be set up in the school parking lot. Students will learn about traffic safety while riding bicycles through the “Safety City.”
Officials from the Galion Police Department, Galion Fire Department, Galion Health Department, and Galion City School District will direct the four-day educational program.
Registration forms can be obtained at the police department and on the City of Galion website: www.ci.galion.oh.us. Completed forms must be returned to the police department, 301 Harding Way East. For information, call 419-468-5255.