Licking County News

Pataskala safety committee

Officials suggest city sponsor firearms training

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Some Pataskala officials may be interested in providing gun-safety courses for residents.

Pataskala City Council President Dan Hayes brought up the topic at the March 4 safety committee meeting.

He cited the reason as increased gun sales in recent months and the high figures for gun ownership in Pataskala.

According to the FBI, 154,873 background checks were requested on Black Friday in 2012. Nationwide, more than 2 million background checks were completed monthly since November.

"If you live in the city and have a (concealed-carry) permit, we should encourage safety and training," Hayes said. "With the recent happenings in the country and the amount of guns being bought and sold, I think we'd be silly to ignore it."

Police Chief Bruce Brooks said the city would be better off if residents who own guns were trained to use them responsibly.

Hayes said city officials would first have to determine if the city should offer an in-house gun-safety course or if it should provide grants for residents to complete a recommended course.

In other business March 4, the safety committee reviewed job descriptions for the two part-time police clerks.

Police clerk Lori Burkhart left in February after working at the department for 10 years.

Brooks said anyone hired would need to be trained as a dispatcher because the part-time police clerk answers phone calls during business hours.

He recommended the department hire two part-time clerks to replace Burkhart to expand the department's phone coverage. Burkhart worked from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. With two clerks, phones could be answered from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Calls that can't be answered by the Pataskala Division of Police are forwarded to the Licking County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office dispatched 3,215 calls for Pataskala in 2012, according to sheriff's office Capt. Pat Claprood.

Mayor Steve Butcher said he would prefer hiring a clerk at $10 to $11 an hour and raising the salary to $12 an hour after a probationary period.

City Administrator Timothy Boland suggested posting a salary range with the position instead of a starting salary.

Safety committee members also are seeking a driving course location for local police officers.

Brooks said he needs to purchase 200 traffic cones for the course, which would require a large parking lot. Training will be done by one of the department's officers.

BJ King, Pataskala's public-services director, agreed to determine if traffic cones could be rented and to price new cones.

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