BLANCHESTER — The Blanchester Police Department dominated discussions at the village council meeting Thursday.
A resolution expressing an intent to retain the village’s own municipal police force now and for the foreseeable future was presented to council. The resolution was rejected in a 4-2 vote, with council members Cindy Sutton, Lori Byrom, Gary Bauer and Don Gephart voting no.
Before voting, Gephart gave a statement in regard to his opposition to the resolution.
“I do not want to give the police officers of Blanchester a false sense of security [by voting for the resolution]. Although they are serving our community well, my intention is, and has always been, to save the taxpayers money by employing a larger force with more resources, that could do the same job at a substantially lower cost,” said Gephart.
He went on to talk about the services the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office could provide. Gephart also said the county is open to hiring Blanchester Police Officers if they’re qualified.
Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt gave a response after Gephart’s comments.
“Eleven years ago I was hired to give this community the best police department possible. I have done that to the best of my ability. I’m proud of our little police department. We have assembled a talented and skilled department.
“But there’s more to it than talent and skill, there’s character and heart,” continued Reinbolt. “All our officers contain that. This team took 11 years to make, it would be a shame if it were to break up. It would take another decade to replace them.”
Council member Sutton said they are just looking at options, and believes the topic has been blown out of proportion.
Regarding the resolution voted upon, council member Byrom said voting yes would have been like sending a message to the police department that they don’t need to worry because village officials are not going to do anything, when they may.