MASON — The first in a series of community meetings, led by Mason Police Chief Rich Gilkey, drew many residents and business representatives Tuesday evening.
Nearly 30 people attended the meeting to voice their concerns, as well as hear what the local law enforcement is doing in the Bend Area.
Chief Gilkey was joined by New Haven Police Chief Dave Hardwick, Hartford Police Chief Sam Anderson, and Officer Kevin Day, who works for both the New Haven and Mason departments.
Many issues were brought up, including drug abuse, four-wheelers, the parking of unauthorized vehicles in handicapped spots, as well as others, according to Gilkey. The department’s social media page on Facebook was also discussed.
“I felt it went well,” Gilkey said. “I want to continue the meetings monthly, probably toward the end of each month. The goal is to alternate them between day and evening meetings to afford all residents and businesses the chance to attend.”
New Haven Chief Hardwick agreed.
“It was a good turnout with good feedback,” he said. “A lot of information was exchanged both ways.”
Immediately prior to the meeting, a person was arrested in Mason and charged with possession of marijuana, a result of a joint venture between the police agencies. The timing of the arrest allowed the officers to explain how they cooperate on investigations and how drug arrests come about. The officers told those attending the importance of tips from the public and that the calls remain anonymous.
Officers noted the Mason department’s Facebook page has been very successful. A lot of tips have been received on it, resulting in many cases being solved.
Gilkey said he would like to work on funding for a “Bend Area Drug Task Force.” He said although officers would not be assigned to it full time, they could work as needed specifically on drug cases.
Mason Mayor Donna Dennis also expressed her satisfaction with the meeting.
“I felt it was a success and a start in the right direction for the communities to work together,” she added.
The mayor said there were representatives from Walmart, Tudor’s Biscuit World, a nearby church, and local health care provider’s office, as well as the general public. Other officials attending included Delegate Scott Brewer; Paul Crump, municipal judge for both Mason and New Haven; and several council members and candidates for municipal offices.
The date and time of the next meeting have not been set. Gilkey said the meeting will be announced on social media and in the Point Pleasant Register.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.