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Citizen concerned about police availability in Lewisport

Lewisport City Council member Kelly Vanover read out concerns provided to him by a Lewisport citizen, which he did not name, regarding the woman’s concerns about the availability of officers of the Lewisport Police Department.

According to the read out by Vanover at the Feb. 18 City Council meeting the homeowner lives adjacent to Poplar Grove Apartments, with a line of trees at her backyard bordering the complex.

On Nov. 6, the woman said she had noticed several children climbing in the trees and asked them to leave. She wrote that soon adults from the complex gathered near her property and began yelling at her.

She said she called 911 at 3:57 p.m., and again at 4:15 p.m., requesting an officer at her residence. At 4:20 p.m., Kentucky State Police out of Daviess County reported they were responding though a deputy of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department arrived. She said no LPD officer responded.

The woman wrote that on Nov. 8 at 1:28 p.m., she went to the office of LPD and it was empty. She called the posted number and there was no answer. Again on Nov. 9, she visited the office and placed two phone calls with no answer.

The citizen said she had four “no trespassing” signs removed from her property and was concerned that there had been no response from the city’s police department.

Police Chief John Garner said the two-person department does not respond or answer the phone “24/7” and that the last call Central Dispatch records showed from the address was in May 2021.

“There’s more in this world than her,” Garner said. “We no longer work work seven days, 24 hours. She is not the only person in this city. I can show a list of complaints a mile long. We’re gonna take care of that … a trespass complaint is low priority compared to theft, sexual abuse or a drug call.”

Garner said the department does not “fail to take a call or refuse a call.” The chief said the department is currently preparing for a transition, and he has been taking vacation days as he prepares to retire.

There was no action taken, and there was no further discussion.

Mayor Chad Gregory said when contacted later that with a small department, coverage can “be short at times.”

“With limited manpower, situations do arise where an officer might not be available,” Gregory said. “We are taking the concerns from the citizen under advisement.”

In other business, City Council:

  • Accepted the financial report, with $154,391 remaining in the General/Road Fund; a deficit of $3,937 in the Fire Department Fund; a balance of $66,628 in the Police Fund; a balance of $2.4 million in the Gas Fund; a balance of $75,774 in the Water Fund; and a balance of $135,054 in the Sewer Fund.

By C. Josh Givens

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