Council Fills Board Seats

Council president Mike Dever called the February 19, 2008 meeting to order at 7:36 PM. The first order of business was a resolution presented by Dever (at large) commending Thomas J. George for his public service as Mayor of Lakewood.

In a turnaround from his past two and a half decades of sitting in a council seat or the mayor’s chair, George stepped up to the public podium to offer his thanks and offer his good wishes to the new council and administration. Each council member present (Mary Louise Madigan, ward four, being absent) offered their own personal thanks and remembrances to George. In each member’s remarks they used the title “Mayor” George which might indicate a salutation for life.

Council then passed a series of resolutions appointing volunteers to various boards and commissions.

The first appointment was Michael Fleenor to the Lakewood Board of Building Standards/Architectural Board of Review/Sign Review Board for a five year term.

The second appointment placed Mary Breiner on the Lakewood Board of Zoning Appeals for a two year term.

Third up was the appointment of Mary Cierebiej, who will become a member of the Lakewood Planning Commission for one year to complete an unexpired term.

Ellen Bryztwa was named a Community Trustee of the Lakewood Hospital Association Board.

At large council members Nickie Antonio and Brian Powers were appointed to the Governing Board of Lakewood Hospital.

One advantage that the Lakewood Observer can bring to you and to help us know our community better is by picking out a conversation or exchange that may have been ignored by other media. Such was the case at the end of this meeting.

In the last few years we have all seen on television a Taser being used, generally by police. A Taser is a small gun-like device that fires electric darts to incapacitate a person temporarily. Police Chief Malley sent a request to council to accept an award of $12,752 from the Office of Criminal Justice Services Justice Assistance Grants to purchase eleven Tasers, Taser Cameras, and training cartridges. Malley indicated that the acquisition of Tasers is part of an overall plan to supply this device to all officers. According to Malley, “the Tasers provide our officers another level of response to resistance and aggression and will further protect our officers and the public from those that are non-compliant and pose threats to all of our safety.”

Nickie Antonio (at large) used this request educate herself and the larger community on the use of force by police. The relationship of police to the citizenry and levels of force authorized are elemental to our process of governing. Antonio posed the question to the Chief as to where a Taser fit in with use of force and whether it was excessive.

Malley pointed out that a Taser device actually gave another level of choice to an officer between laying hands on an individual or a much higher degree of force. He said that many times, physical confrontations led to injury of an officer and the non-compliant person. A Taser offers the opportunity to subdue an individual without the extra risk of injury.

Tom Bullock (ward two) asked if injuries to officers involved in physical contact resulted in sick time or an added expense to the department’s budget. Malley indicated that injury downtime has been an outcome of those exchanges.

Antonio was satisfied with the answers and council voted to accept the grant award.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 10:51 AM, 03.01.2008