Home Indiana News Leesburg Officials Complain About Sheriff’s Office Response

Leesburg Officials Complain About Sheriff’s Office Response

Leesburg City Center. (Photo: Nick Deranek/News Now Warsaw)
Public safety was the main topic of discussion during the Leesburg Town Council meeting Monday.

The first issue the Council talked about was people speeding in town.

“I’m not so naive as to think anything, including law enforcement, stops people from speeding,” Council President Tom Moore said. He suggested finding something to remind people of the speed limit and asked where they could find something like that.

Street Commissioner Craig Charlton said he spoke with the town’s supplier of signage and they have something available. He said he was quoted a price of $3,200 for a self-sufficient, solar-powered speed indicator. The town would own it and mount it on a sign post. Charlton said he could have that quote for the Council at the next meeting.

Councilwoman Christina Archer said even if the town doesn’t have law enforcement in town, they need to do something about the people speeding within town limits.

“And I know people ignore signs quite a bit, but I still feel that there are some measures we can take that may help a little bit at least,” Archer said.

She said Leesburg has a lot of children and as it continues to warm up, it’s going to be more of a concern. On Monday, she said she saw a lot of children riding in the alleys and on sidewalks, but not in the street.

“I do have a concern because people drive way too fast,” Archer said.

Resident Brandon Allen said he feels something needs to happen. He measured Canal Street at 375 feet between Van Buren and Plum streets and the speeds he sees near his house on Canal Street are “amazing.”

Allen said most of the offenders are eastbound down Plum Street and it’s usually the people that are doing more than 25 mph on Plum Street and carrying it onto Canal Street. He said it’s hard to be a father and someone who’s involved in public service to see the people speeding.

Charlton also noted the speeds people have been driving. He said there are people that drive down Van Buren and Prairie streets well over 50 miles an hour.

“I like to mitigate problems before they become a problem,” Allen said. There are a lot of children in that area, saying he and his wife keep a good eye on their kids, “but you all know kids.”

Plum Street is marked at 25 miles per hour in both areas, Allen said. He thinks there’s a “Warning Slow: Children Playing” sign on Plum on both ends of Canal Street. He wondered if there’s a speed limit assigned to the children playing sign or if it was at the discretion of the motorist.

Charlton said townwide, the speed limit is 25 mph. As far as the children playing sign, it serves more of a warning.

“So to answer that question, it doesn’t slow down to 20 miles per hour,” Charlton said.

Allen offered letting a Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office deputy squad car sit in his driveway to keep an eye on speeders.

Charlton said he did inquire about placement of a deputy in town and the response he got was the town would have to pay for someone to be in town and they would “do a community service.” Charlton said he wanted people to slow down or get tickets.

Moore said he’d be happy to talk to law enforcement because if the town is going to pay “extra” for a law enforcement presence in town, he wants some money back because as taxpayers, residents have been paying money to the sheriff’s office “forever.”

Charlton said the response from the sheriff’s office upset him because the town has kids who get on the bus in the morning when he sees people speeding, but the response he got from the sheriff’s office was that the town would have to pay to have an officer to be in town at a specific time.

“I can tell you we need an officer in town,” Charlton said.

Moore said as soon as they bring in an officer at certain times, people will slow down during those times and the speeding will happen at other times.

Councilman Doug Jones said whenever he’s called the sheriff’s office over various matters, he said he doesn’t feel he’s gotten due diligence. He suggested to Allen he call the sheriff’s office as a resident and complain.

“Because when I called in the past, I haven’t received the attention I would like to get out of it,” Jones said.

Charlton said it’s not right that just because Leesburg is a small town and doesn’t have a police department, they go without.

No decision was made during Monday’s meeting.

Plain Township Trustee Tyler Huffer approached the Council about having a tornado siren in town.

Huffer said he’s still working with the Plain Township Fire Department about the best spots for the siren, but it would definitely be in town. Huffer said he had an estimate for $5,000 for a pole, placement and power run to the siren, but that was just a rough figure.

If the siren could be put on CR 1100, it would cover Leesburg, Whispering Pines and the school, as well as other areas in Plain Township like Oswego, Huffer said. The siren would have a 3-mile radius.

Huffer said he could talk to the Council about it more during its April 12 meeting.

Moore said he thought it was a good idea.

No decision was made during Monday’s meeting.

In other business, the Council:

• Decided to keep the sewer fees for churches, restaurants and bars at the current rate for the time being. Moore said the sewer rate varies. Jones said there’s a formula that is followed that is dictated by the state. Moore said it’s per seat capacity of the structure.

• Reminded people the next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. April 12 at Town Hall.