BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — “The law should be applied more with a scalpel than a chainsaw,” believes Waterville Township Police Chief Charles Humes.
Since being hired as chief on May 26, Humes said he’s been asked about his philosophy on law enforcement, so during the July 28 township trustees meeting he shared some of his beliefs with trustees Kyle Hertzfeld and Julie Theroux.
Every officer is certified through the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commis-sion, and the word “peace” is the key to his philosophy, he noted.
“We should be peace officers first, not just law enforcement drones,” he said.
For instance, if a vehicle has a headlight out, the officer should stop to inform the driver. If the motorist presents a valid license and insurance, that should end the stop.
“Before I make an arrest or issue a citation, I need to ask, ‘Is this helping keep the peace in the community?’”
He referred to Sir Robert Peel’s Policing Principals, which asserts that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them. Peel was the founder of the first London Metropolitan Police Department in 1829.
“A police department’s effectiveness is not based off the number of arrests but in the absence of crime and disorder,” Humes said. “As long as we can help people, make lives better and have an absence of crime and disorder, I’ll be satisfied.”
Humes, who says he came out of retirement to take the position, has over 37 years of law enforcement experience.
He spent a shift with an officer over the weekend, during which time they assisted a family stranded on US 24 when their car was disabled. Humes said he’ll be out with officers on patrol as much as possible while he’s learning about the department and township.
During the meeting, trustees also:
• Learned that maintenance equipment being sold online has netted $109,000 so far. The township disbanded its maintenance department in 2020 and the maintenance building is now owned by the Fallen Timbers Union Cemetery District. Trustees thanked cemetery sexton Rory Hartbarger for his assistance.
• Agreed to discuss a need for a contract for snow removal and salt spreading, as well as crack sealing and ditch bank mowing, when trustee Duke Wheeler is in attendance at August’s meeting.
• Listened to Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez say that the state auditor would like to increase Waterville Township property values an average of 20 percent, while she’s pushing for 17.2 percent. Lopez is still working with the state, but letters will be going out to residents advising them of the change. She will set up times at the township hall for property owners to come ask questions. Residents can see the impact of this increase by looking at the property tax calculator on AREIS.
• Heard Humes say that law enforcement personnel hired to look into the safety of the computer network and property room didn’t find major issues but had suggestions for best practices.
• Approved the acceptance of a Spirit of Blue grant from T-Mobile’s Connect-ing Heroes program. The program will provide six new Samsung 5G cell phones for officers to use. Three of the phones provide priority service that pre-empts other calls in the event of an emergency when the phone line is down. Humes estimated the value of the phones and the monthly bills – which will be covered by the program through 2030 – at over $52,000. Officers currently use their own cell phones.
The next Waterville Township trustees meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the township hall, 621 Farnsworth Rd.