CPD releases annual report

Apr 1, 2015 882

The Columbus Police Department (CPD) has released it’s annual report. In many areas, crime remained flat. Drug cases continue to be an issue, specifically heroin.

Arguably the department’s brightest spot came on November 22, when CPD earned the accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA. CALEA is the highest recognition for a law enforcement agency in the United States. Department officials say that it is achieved by establishing internationally recognized best practices that maintain and improve the department’s services and professionalism. CPD says that less than three percent of law enforcement agencies in the country have obtained CALEA accreditation. In Indiana, CPD is one of only 15 of the state’s 581 agencies to be awarded CALEA’s Certificate of Accreditation.

CPD officials say that this accreditation is the culmination a comprehensive three-year effort that required annual self-examination of 188 nationally accepted standards, followed by an objective review by CALEA assessors. These standards are developed by collaboration among the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriffs Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and numerous other associations and organizations.

CPD also touted its partnership with the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC). The department has partnered with BCSC on a number of programs in years past, but that partnership was extended in 2014 with the addition of two full-time School Resource Officers. These officers’ primary job is to maintain safety for students, faculty and staff.

CPD’s annual report also touched on a number of statistics.

From 2013 to 2014, CPD calls for service increased 1.3 percent. From 2011 to 2014, they increased 3.4 percent.

From 2013 to 2014, there was a six percent reduction in property crime and from 2011 to 2014 a 23 percent reduction.

Operating While Intoxicated arrests increased 49 percent from 2013 to 2014.

From 2013 to 2014, CPD had a four percent increase in criminal arrests for adults. However, the department reports that adult criminal arrests have essentially remained consistent over the past four years.

From 2011 to 2014, CPD reports that there has been a 36 percent decrease in juvenile arrests. From 2013 to 2014, there has been an 11 percent decrease.

CPD officials say the department has been active in the Bartholomew County Juvenile Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), which has the goal of detaining the right youth for the right reason and to have community alternatives that can be utilized while maintaining public safety. That partnership is expected to continue.

From 2011 to 2014, CPD has reported a 13 percent decrease in domestic violence calls. However, from 2013 to 2014, there has been a 15 percent increase.

Property crime continues to be an issue for Columbus residents. CPD says that its goal is to continue to reduce the property crime rate, as has been the case over the past three years. Officials say they will strive to reduce property crime by five percent and to increase burglary case filings by 10 percent.

CPD officials say that when it comes to the drug problem, 2014 followed the trends that were seen in 2013. That includes an increase in heroin and imported methamphetamine. There were no methamphetamine labs found within city limits and the residual methamphetamine trash from labs was down 63 percent. While drug labs and trash from labs has significantly decreased, the department says meth dealing cases were up 38 percent over 2013. Officials say this shows that methamphetamine is being imported in to the city, as opposed to it being made locally. As for the heroin problem, CPD says is has “continued to attack the heroin epidemic.” That pressure is being credited with maintained the 2013 level of annual increase. The department says there has been a 500 percent increase in heroin dealing cases since 2012.

The Columbus Police Department says its goal is to continue to combat the drug supply and usage in the community. By doing that, department leaders believe it will better the quality of life for every citizen either directly or indirectly. They say this can be accomplished by increasing drug arrests by five percent and adult criminal arrests by five percent.

You can read the entire annual report at the Columbus Police Department’s website at http://columbus.in.gov/cityofcolumbus/assets/File/CPD%20Annual%20Report%202014.pdf.

INDOT holding Seymour open house

Mar 31, 2015 842

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will host what they they are calling “an important open house” at the Seymour District main conference room on Tuesday, April 7th, from 4 and 7 p.m. The INDOT facilities are located at 185 Agrico Lane on the east side of Seymour.

INDOT Spokesman Harry Maginity says that INDOT personnel hope to talk with, and receive input from, area residents, community leaders and transportation stakeholders regarding the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Maginity says that STIP is a four-year planning document listing all projects expected to be federally funded, as well as state-funded projects that are deemed regionally significant.

INDOT says that STIP projects include pavement and bridge facilities, as well as projects that address safety, congestion, mobility and emergency response. In addition, Maginity says the STIP looks at investment in various modes including highways, transit, pedestrian trails and bicycle facilities. He says that if a project is not included in the STIP, it cannot be eligible for federal funding.

Maginity says that Tuesday’s open house provides an opportunity to meet with INDOT officials and program managers in an informal setting. You are encouraged to attend.

Pence asks for update to RFRA

Mar 31, 2015 495

Governor Mike Pence held a press conference Tuesday to address the continuing uproar over the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Pence said that he was proud to sign the the bill in to law last week. He says the law protects religious liberty, which he calls our “first freedom” and “vital to millions of American who cherish faith.” Pence added that religious liberty is “vital to the framework of freedom in our nation.” Pence stressed that it was never the intent of the bill to condone discrimination. He added that if he thought that was the case, he would have vetoed it.

Pence also blamed the uproar on misrepresentations of the legislation, some deliberate, in the state and national media. He noted that Indiana’s law mirrored the federal law of the same name that was signed into law by President Clinton in the mid 90s.

Pence says there has been terrible confusion and uproar over what the bill does, and does not allow. He said that he has asked the General Assembly to get him a bill to sign this week that clarifies that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not a license for businesses to discriminate. Pence said that he wants the bill to deal narrowly with the issue at hand.

There has been no word from legislative leaders indicating whether or not they will follow through with the Governor’s request. There have been murmurs that getting a bill turned around and on the Governor’s desk that quickly will not be possible.

Man arrested in alleged domestic violence case

Mar 31, 2015 990

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputies made an arrest Monday night in an alleged domestic battery case. Department Spokesperson Judy Jackson says that just before 7 p.m., deputies were dispatched to the 4000 block of Vance Street in Columbus.

Witnesses say that when the female alleged victim tried to leave the home, the suspect, 29-year-old Anthony Michael Allseitz, restrained her, took her car keys and would not let her leave.

Jackson says that Allseitz was arrested and booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on charges of Domestic Battery in the Presence of a Minor and Criminal Confinement.

Man arrested on charges of False Informing

Mar 31, 2015 1063

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s investigators say that an alleged robbery and assault that took place Friday night in the parking lot of Bush’s Market, just east of Columbus, never happened.

The initial report from the alleged victim, Richard Daniels, claimed that he was driving through the area when he noticed a vehicle in the parking lot. He told authorities that he assumed the driver needed help,RICHARD DANIELS so he stopped to offer assistance. Daniels reported that after stopping his vehicle, he was robbed by a young white male and suffered a cut to his leg when the assailant tried to pull him out of his vehicle.

Authorities say that Daniels later admitted to making the incident up. Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy Jackson says that Daniels was arrested on a warrant for False Informing and booked in the Bartholomew County Jail.

Columbus man arrested on drug and auto theft charges

Mar 30, 2015 1189

A routine traffic stop led to the arrest of a Columbus man on a bevy of charges over the weekend. Columbus Police Department Spokesman, Sgt. Matt Harris, says that an officer stopped an SUV late Saturday afternoon in the 1700 block of McKinley Avenue after the driver allegedly failed to use his turn signal.

Harris says that officers spoke with the driver, 25-year old Nathan F. Ingram. During the stop, officers allegedly found meth and drug paraphernalia in clothing belonging to Ingram. After Ingram was taken into custody, officers contacted the registered owners of the SUV, who told them that they woke up that morning to find the SUV, and its keys, missing. Harris says that the owners of the SUV reported the vehicle stolen.

Ingram was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary Felony charges of Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Legend Drug Injection Device and Auto Theft. He is also facing a Misdemeanor count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Columbus Police make arrest in stabbing incident

Mar 30, 2015 906

Columbus Police have arrested a suspect in connection with a stabbing that took place March 23rd in the 300 block of McClure Road in Columbus.

Sgt. Matt Harris, Spokesman for the Columbus Police Department, says that a CPD officer recognized a vehicle associated with the crime at approximately 6 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Seventh Street and Central Avenue. A short time later, officers saw 39-year-old Jonathan E. Sapp, of Elizabethtown, in the area. He was then arrested by a detective and a number of uniformed officers.

Harris says that Sapp was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on charges of Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury While Armed with a Deadly Weapon, a Level 5 Felony. He is being held without bond.

Another lawsuit filed in Seymour bus crash

Mar 27, 2015 905

Another lawsuit has been filed by a passenger claiming she was injured in a Megabus rollover crash in Jackson County last December that left about two dozen people hurt.

The “Chicago Sun-Times” is reporting that Celina McManus was on the bus traveling from Chicago to Atlanta when it crashed Dec. 20 near Seymour.

Four other passengers have already filed lawsuits.

The bus, carrying 70 passengers, was southbound on I-65 about 5:30 a.m. when authorities say it struck a median and rolled onto its side. Reports on that day says that it was snowing and roadway conditions were quickly deteriorating. The lawsuit alleges that the driver lost control of the bus while changing lanes on a railroad overpass. At least 24 passengers were reportedly injured.

The report says that all five suits were filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois. They claim negligence against the driver, as well as Coach USA, Inc. and its subsidiaries.

For more on this story, visit www.chicago.suntimes.com.

Columbus seeks to bring more properties up to code

Mar 26, 2015 999

Correction: Fred Barnett’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. We apologize for the error.

A Columbus city official says that about 76 percent of the city’s properties meet all the building codes and regulations. But they would like to get that number up to 80 percent.

Fred Barnett, with Columbus Code Enforcement, said that in many cases where there is non-compliance, the owners of the offending property do not live in the area.

Barnett talked to members of the Ninth Street Park Neighborhood Watch last night, spending an hour listening to residents’ concerns and explaining how city processes work. He explained that for him to be successful, members of the community must be involved.

Barnett began his job back in November.

Barnett says that as of this week, 76.2 percent of all properties within Columbus city limits are in compliance with all regulations. Barnett noted that in many cases where there is non-compliance, the owners of the offending property do not live in the area. He says that there are several owners living out of state who have purchased properties from sheriff’s sales, sight unseen.

Barnett told the group that it is properties like these that they should concentrate on when taking part in neighborhood watch programs. He says that abandoned and empty homes are magnets for crime, drug use and squatters.

Barnett praised the group and encouraged them to continue, noting that change begins in small increments at local levels. he noted that when something positive takes place in one neighborhood, in many instances, neighboring properties will find ways to improve as well.

Columbus spring cleanup slated for April

Mar 26, 2015 863

For the fourth consecutive year, the City of Columbus is partnering with volunteers from First Christian Church, Cummins and other local businesses, churches and organizations to assist local residents improve the appearance and safety of their neighborhoods.

Chris Schilling, with the city’s Office of Community Development, says that as part of the Mayor Kristen Brown’s Semi-Annual Neighborhood Cleanup Campaign, the targeted areas have been expanded. He says the expansion is in response to the growing popularity of the neighborhood clean-up events which are held in the spring and fall of each year.

Schilling says that the Spring 2015 Campaign has been expanded to include more east side areas including several neighborhoods that straddle Central Avenue and State Street. In addition the State Street corridor itself will be part of an initial “adopt the street” effort.

Schilling says the cleanup campaign helps improve neighborhoods through repairs to residential properties, removing debris and vegetation, landscaping, and clearing alleys. This year’s spring campaign is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 24-25th.

Volunteer crews will be in the neighborhoods on Wednesday April 1st, looking to sign up property owners whose properties might need help.

“These Cleanup Campaigns have elevated a sense of neighborhood pride in Columbus,” Mayor Brown said. “Our continuing collaboration with First Christian Church and Cummins, Inc., melds local best practices with Advance Columbus, the City’s community-wide strategic plan, and its overarching goal to ‘Ensure safe and affordable housing and attractive and proud neighborhoods for all’.”

Neighborhood residents can register for individual assistance by contacting First Christian Church online at www.fccoc.org or by contacting Bonnie Jarvis by phone at 812-379-4491 or by email at bjarvis@fccoc.org.