In his first three months as a Community Resource Officer assigned to the Brice-Livingston area, Tim Kessler has investigated more than a dozen drug complaints, handed out hundreds of surveys to residents and reached out to the school district about problems with students who trespass on properties near Baldwin Road Junior High School.
In a first-quarter report to Reynoldsburg City Council April 14, Kessler said his goals are to "connect with business owners and talk to residents about problems in the area and find ways to address the problems."
On Jan. 4, Police Chief Jim O'Neill assigned Kessler to patrol an area bordered by Brice Road on the west, Retton Road on the north, Stouder Drive on the east and I-70 on the south.
O'Neill said that area has seen increased criminal activity in the last five years.
"Last summer, we talked about trying a new approach to that problem," he said.
Kessler said he investigated 16 drug complaints during the first quarter of the year.
"Nine of those led to charges," he said.
He told council he recently passed out close to 900 surveys to residents and visited each area business owner. After the surveys come back, he said he will create a database that pinpoints problem areas. He will also reach out to local organizations to help develop solutions to those problems.
"Visiting the businesses helped me get to know the owners and also to talk to them about code violations," he said.
He said many residents in the area complained about teen trespassers near Baldwin Road Junior High.
"Residents there showed me where kids had torn down fences despite 'no trespassing' signs," he said.
"Some residents have talked about putting grease on the fences and one replaced fence areas and put chicken wire at the top, but it was still torn down."
He said at Chandler Commons, located north of the school, trespassers have torn slats off the privacy fences and damaged chain-link fences to take shortcuts through yards.
"I told the residents that we are working on the problem, but since most have been dealing with it since 2006, some were not very receptive because they don't think things will change," he said.
Kessler said he has talked to Reynoldsburg school district administrators, who made school announcements and promised to discipline students caught trespassing.
"I stopped a kid climbing over a fence at Barcelona Square on the first day of school," he said. "He told me that people told him he could cut through that area."
He said no citations have been issued yet.
"We want to look into the whole situation with the school district," he said.
He said the Century City Apartment complex has a block of apartments that house mentally disabled residents.
"Most of these residents need little or no supervision, but there have been a number of challenges in this area," he said.