Crime Prevention Corner: Community policing officer bids farewell

Ron Craig

This column will be my final one, as I have retired from my Lake Township Police Department position.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those who have helped me over these past several years. At the top of the list is Chief Mark Hummer. After hearing in February 2018 I was going to retire from my position at Bloomville Police Department as community policing officer and crime prevention officer, he offered me the same position with LTPD.
Chief Hummer requested my first order of business was to establish a Neighborhood Watch group at the Woodlake property. Little did I know at the time, this was to be the first of several Neighborhood Watch groups that would be established.
During my time with LTPD, I think my greatest accomplishment was during the COVID-19 outbreak. I was working from home at the time to limit the exposure to myself and others, making phone calls to township residents to check on them.
After speaking to many residents, I found they wanted the COVID vaccine but were having difficulty trying to get appointments for the vaccines. I went to Chief Hummer and told him of the situation, and he gave me the go-ahead to do what I could to assist our residents. When all was said and done, I helped more than 300 area residents get their vaccinations.
This could not have happened at a better time for me as I had just lost my wife, Paula, to cancer. The project gave me a new purpose in life when I needed it the most.
I got a lot of recognition for our department’s efforts with this project, including a story on CNN and awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, but I always insisted I was only doing the job Chief Hummer had hired me to do. In every interview I had been given for the project, I insisted it was a department project, and what the other officers of the department did to assist the township residents far outweighed what I was doing.
I want to thank the members of our Neighborhood Watch groups for attending our monthly meetings, and also the leaders of those groups. These leaders include Woodcreek Neighborhood Watch members Mary Lou Sellers and Woodcreek owner Rob Shouhayib.
Thank you, Mary Lou, for arranging the little retirement party you helped throw for me a few weeks ago.
Millbury Neighborhood Watch would not have possible without the work of members like Debbie Schwamberger and Jan Newell, and likewise, Eastpointe Neighborhood Watch members Mark Fowler and Kim Knierum.
Moline Neighborhood Watch member Lisa Braatz also deserves special thanks. A couple of years ago, my phone rang on a Saturday, and it was Lisa reporting there was a guy going door to door in Moline and she wondered if the man had a permit. I called one of the officers on duty that day, and he found it was Judge Aram Ohanian of Perrysburg Municipal Court doing some politicking for his upcoming race for re-election.
Judge Ohanian called me later that day to tell me I had trained my Neighborhood Watch members in Moline well as they were very observant to report his quite legal activities that day. I thought that was the greatest compliment I could have received.
Our State Rep. Haraz Ghanbari has done an excellent job for our district, and I thank him for attending several of our Neighborhood Watch meetings. Although he is not our state senator, I thank Sen. Bill Reineke for his support in the state senate for the legislation that allows our township officers to enforce traffic laws on I-420.
Reinke has been a friend of my family for many years. In fact, when he was in high school, his parents asked my grandmother to stay with the kids when they would go out of town for conferences.


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