Mark Taylor
Edgerton city officials will host a community meeting between citizens and Johnson County Sheriff’s personnel after fielding numerous complaints about criminal activity during the Sept. 8 council meeting.
Several residents expressed concern during the public participation portion of the meeting about last week’s shooting on West Nelson Street, as well as other criminal activity in the city.
Ashley Tharet, 28, was charged with aggravated battery for allegedly shooting her sister in the neck in the 200 block of West Nelson Street on Sept. 3 and is being held on a $50,000 bond. Police have not released the name of the victim, but said she is expected to survive.
The residents also raised concerns about drug activity and speeding motorists, adding that they wanted more police presence in town.
“There are lots of drug houses,” one citizen told the council.
Mayor Don Roberts told those in attendance that the city contracts patrol services through the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
He said Edgerton’s patrol deputy covers a zone roughly bounded by Homestead Lane, 159th Street, and the Miami and Douglas County lines.
Roberts said the contract requires a deputy to patrol within that zone at all times, unless they are called to leave for backup in another zone.
He said the city has to balance police presence with how much it can afford to spend.
“Our contract is roughly $250,000 per year,” Roberts said. “To add a second (patrol) car, I am sure would be an additional $250,000 per year.”
Mike Hart, of the sheriff’s office, encouraged the citizens to share information regarding crime with the local patrol deputy or by calling the sheriff’s dispatcher.
“The same information will get passed on whether you tell the officer or the dispatcher,” he said.
Hart said deputies share information with each other as they change shifts, and all deputies receive updates regarding activity taking place in their zones during roll call.
Hart confirmed that deputies are investigating drug activity in the city, but added that investigations can take weeks or months to complete.
Roberts said the city also receives speeding complaints on a regular basis.
“I think it is something we have to address, and we have to address it regularly,” he said.
Hart added, “We can write 20 tickets a day, but as soon as we leave, within a couple of days, they are right back at it again,” he said. “The only way we are going to stop that is if we set up a police officer at that stop sign 24 hours a day. Obviously we can’t do that.”
Roberts asked City Administrator Beth Linn and Hart to “head up” a town hall meeting between citizens and sheriff’s officials.
The time and date will be determined.
“The more information we have, the better decisions we can make,” he said.