By Bryce Abshier
At a recent Belleview City Commission meeting, Police Chief Terry Holland presented a department update that featured an activity log for the month of April. Highlighting the month’s activities were a whopping 12 Baker Acts and 5 Marchman Acts. City Commissioners asked the chief to explain what those incidents were all about.
“To put them in the hospital we have to do it under a Marchman Act, so they are held there,” explained Police Chief Terry Holland. “Most of our Marchman Acts are drug overdoses,” he explained.
Commissioner Mike Goldman then asked “Is that included in the 12 Baker Acts, or is that on top of it?”
“That’s on top of it,” replied Chief Holland.
“So that’s basically one every other day,” exclaimed Goldman.
“Sometimes two or three a day” replied Holland.
In addition to the high volume of drug overdoses, Belleview Police issued 119 citations and handled 24 traffic accidents in April. They made 15 felony arrests and 16 misdemeanor arrests, while issuing 21 trespassing warnings.
In other police news discussed at the commission meeting, Chief Terry Holland took exception to a letter recently written by a pair of Lake Lillian Circle residents. The letter alleged frequent chaotic happenings at the lake related to homelessness, as well as kids jumping off of the dock and swimming in the lake.
“The other thing I’d like to address is the lake,” said Chief Holland. “The letter that was sent to the commission about the lake was very one-sided, to say the least. We can’t deal with issues that we don’t know about and I cannot keep an officer there 24/7,” said Holland. “All my night officers, especially, are required to do security checks at the lake.”
To deal with the expanding size of Belleview, and the “big city” problems that now occur weekly, commissioners had recently considered the idea of hiring another full time police officer.
“I put in my report what I can do with just one more officer,” explained Terry Holland. “Both of my squads with one more officer will pretty much have three man coverage. If you were to allow me to start the process of (hiring) a new officer, as you know that takes a couple of months. If I was to start the hiring process on at least one new officer, it would probably be June or July before they got hired.”
The city’s cost in hiring just one police officer is estimated at $168,327. This includes salary and benefit expenses, a fully outfitted patrol vehicle, police academy tuition, uniforms and equipment, as well as other smaller fees.
The commission voted unanimously in favor of allowing the Belleview Police Department to hire a new officer. The starting salary is $53,518.40. The position includes insurance and benefits, retirement and a take-home patrol vehicle.