Upon the recommendation of Chief of Police J.R. Jones, the West Unity Village Council unanimously approved the hiring of Officer Michael Polley to fill the position of School Resource Officer at Hilltop Schools. The filling of the SRO position comes directly after the approval of the Millcreek-West Unity Board of Education’s approval of the SRO agreement during their last board meeting.
Polley, who will be the first SRO in Williams County, is a West Unity native and graduated from Hilltop Schools in 2007. While attending high school, Polley participated in baseball, basketball, and track. He is also a 2011 graduate of Olivet Nazarene University, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology. Polley then moved on to complete the Henry County police academy at Northwest State Community College in 2012. Polley has been serving the West Unity police department on a part-time basis since August, 2012 and will now be moved to full time status in order to fill his new roll within the community.
In accordance with the SRO agreement, the Millcreek West Unity School District will reimburse the Village of West Unity a total sum of $10,873.88 for Polley’s services at the school. This sum breaks down to $151.65 per day and includes both wages and benefits for Polley as well as related costs, such as a one time physical, of filling the position.
For now the SRO agreement is approved only for the remainder of the school year, February 19 through June 2, 2013 and Polley will begin serving in the SRO position on February 19. The agreement does, however, allow for a renewal at the end of the term.
Chief Jones indicated that he will soon be advertising for and seeking candidates to fill Polley’s now vacant part time position with the West Unity Police Department as well as that the department is working to make sure that Polley will have a vehicle present at the school.
In a related resolution, Council approved a resolution concerning pay scales for township employees that will allow Polley to fulfill a six month probationary period at full time status.
Hilltop Interim High School Principal Larry Long was present during the meeting and extended his gratitude towards both Chief Jones and the Council for working so diligently to ensure the safety of Hilltop’s students. “With everything that schools have been going through, I truly believe that we are doing the right thing,” Long said.
Other items brought to the table during the council meeting included Village Administrator Ric Beal’s reports on the maintenance and upkeep of the village. Beals noted several improvements that are taking place throughout the community. The floors at the Kissell Building have been cleaned and a new AED unit has been installed in the building. The replacement of the East Jackson Street water main is set to begin in spring and the refurbishing of the South Liberty Street sewage pumping station should also begin in late March or early April. A new door and locks have also been installed at the new shelter house at Memorial Park, which brings the building up to code and which will make break-ins extremely difficult.
Beals also noted that West Unity has been a 2012 Tree City USA town and that West Unity has earned this honor every year since 1986.
Mayor Peg Bernath proclaimed February as Career and Technical Education Month during the meeting and urges “all citizens to become familiar with the services and benefits offered by the career and technical education programs in this community and to support and participate in these programs to enhance their individual work skills and productivity.”
Fiscal Officer Beth Rediger also reported that she will be attending the Ohio Municipal Clerk’s Association’s annual conference in the spring and that she is seeking a scholarship to defray the costs of her attendance.