Council talks safety, crime
by Michelle Babcock
November 03, 2013 12:00 AM | 2396 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WOODSTOCK — Crime is down in the city so far this year, an update given Monday by the police chief to the Woodstock City Council revealed.

Police Chief Calvin Moss presented the update on city crime statistics through the first nine months of the year, and noted some significant changes from last year.

The police and fire departments recognized public safety personnel for their efforts to keep the city safe. Moss said compared to last year through the end of September, there has been a 55 percent decrease in violent crimes.

He said many aggravated assaults are related to domestic violence, and thinks the police department’s work with other agencies and organizations has helped to reduce the number of incidents.

“It’s no secret that the city of Woodstock takes domestic violence very seriously. We have a pro-arrest stance on that crime,” Moss said. “It would be my hope that, that perception is getting out into the public.”

“Where we stand presently, year to date, compared to last year through the end of September, is we have had 4 percent fewer crimes committed here in the city of Woodstock,” Moss said.

There have been no homicides in 2013, Moss said. Compared to 2012 there was one less rape, which was a 33 percent reduction and one additional robbery.

Moss said there were 22 fewer aggravated assaults, which was a 69 percent decrease, and seven fewer burglaries. The city had a 10 percent increase in larceny and one less vehicle stolen.

Councilman Randy Brewer commended the chief on the lowering crime rate, pointing out that in a down economy, it is not the trend for crime to decrease.

Awards presented Moss presented two Employee of the Quarter awards, for the second and third quarters of the year, to members of the Woodstock Police Department for their work in the city.

Moss awarded Sgt. Mark Goggans, director of training, the Employee of the Quarter Award for the second quarter, and said Goggans was selected “largely due to his dedication to the Cherokee County multi-agency training commitment” with the Sheriff’s Office and surrounding law enforcement.

“Sgt. Goggans has been with our department since 2007. He currently serves as our director of training and we’re very pleased to have him with us,” Moss said.

The Employee of the Quarter Award for the third quarter of the year was given to Officer Ryan Bleisath with the neighborhood services unit.

Moss said Bleisath, who has been with the department since about 2011, helps with neighborhood and community outreach, and most recently was responsible for coordinating National Night Out, a community outreach event that was “an enormous success.”

“(He has) remarkably taken on task after task,” Moss said of Bleisath.

Fire Chief Dave Soumas explained that one of the criteria for the Life Saving Award is that patients “walk out of the hospital.”

Soumas said sometimes firefighters and police officers don’t get to hear about their patients until long after the incidents they responded, and sometimes, they never get to hear about how patients are doing.

Soumas explained a situation in 2012 where the fire department responded to a sick person call, and when the department arrived, the person was in full cardiac arrest.

Soumas said without the efforts of the responding firefighters, the man wouldn’t be alive. Today, he is living well, Soumas said.

Soumas recognized Woodstock firefighters Sgt. Corey Collogan, Justin York, Don Grant, Lt. Kristi Wigington, and Sgt. Tim Smith, and Cherokee County firefighters Lt. Cecil Davis, Joel Sciranko and Medical Control Dean Hege.

The second Life Saving Award was given for an incident in 2013, when police Officer Patricia Friedman arrived first on the scene and performed CPR until medical personnel arrived.

Soumas said without the work of an entire team of emergency personnel, this sort of rescue wouldn’t be possible.

Soumas recognized Woodstock firefighters Brian Dean, Ben Reed, Collogan, and Jimmy Brennan, Woodstock police Officer Friedman, and Cherokee County firefighters Chad Huff and Jeffery Roberts.

Soumas said he was proud to serve with all of the men and women in the fire and police departments.

Fire truck clarification

In other news, Councilwoman Tessa Basford asked for a clarification about a new fire engine in the minutes from the council’s special called meeting and work session Oct 21.

“Toward the end of the minutes, it talks about the fire engine that was recently purchased and it’s confusing the way it’s written,” Bassford clarified. “It was a 2010 model but made in 2013.”

Soumas said after the meeting, the Oct. 21 discussion was confusing because there was talk about two separate fire vehicle purchases, despite the actual vote being about only one purchase.

The fire truck that was approved at the last meeting, and just purchased, was bought to replace a fire truck with a 1996 frame that had a replacement cab from 2005, but had a cracked frame that was discovered in 2013.

Soumas said the department also needed a ladder truck replaced, and it was already an approved cost. However, the ladder truck is going to be customized, and won’t be available for about a year.

City Manager Jeff Moon said the city decided to put out a bid for the broken, surplus fire engine, after receiving higher offers than the original trade-in value that was presented at the last meeting.

The original trade-in value was assessed at $7,000, and Moon said that the city could most likely get more money from putting the engine up for bid to further offset the cost of the newly purchased engine.

Also at the meeting:

• Councilman Randy Brewer recognized and thanked John Szczesniak for his years working on the Woodstock Planning Commission, and said that he served that city well;

• Mayor Donnie Henriques presented a representative from the Daughters of the American Revolution with three proclamations. The first was a Veteran’s Day proclamation for Nov. 11, the second was for Indian Heritage Month in November and the third was for Literacy Day on Nov. 1;

• New Planning Commission member Jamie Snyder was sworn in;

• Finance Director Robert Porche presented a financial update for September and said the city’s revenues were higher compared to last year at this time. Though this is the “slow” revenue time for the city, Porche said that the city was doing well and was under budget;

• Approved text amendments to three Land Development Ordinances;

• Approved the first reading of a revision to the Litter Ordinance regarding construction waste; and

• Approved the surplus and disposal of Fire Engine 14.

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