Pubdate: Wed, 20 Aug 2014
Source: Michigan City News Dispatch (MI)
Copyright: 2014 The News Dispatch
Author: Matt Fritz

Councilman: La Porte Needs New Direction In Drug Policing

La PORTE - La Porte's success, or lack thereof, in fighting drug abuse
in the community was an issue of some contention during the La Porte
Board of Public Works meeting this week.

There, city Councilman Roger Galloway said the city's police
department needed a new direction in combating the prevalent heroin
abuse and other illegal drug problems swarming the streets.

He said the department was too reactive, and needed to start doing
something to saturate these problem areas with law enforcers to handle
the drug issue. He suggested paying for more off-duty officers to work
shifts, and obtaining a second K-9 officer, among other changes, which
he believed could be handled with the department's current budget.

"Our drug problem is the number one concern of the city," he said.
"The second biggest problem is the condition of the city streets."

But La Porte Police Chief Adam Klimczak said his department was
tackling the drug issue from many fronts.

He said the department obtained a K-9 officer and has been saturating
areas to discourage dealers. He said it also has the Explorers and
DARE programs to help engage youth in law enforcement, and officers
have been going out and removing graffiti to help increase police presence.

"If we had more guys, we could hit it harder," he said. "But I think
with the guys we've got, we're doing pretty good."

He also said the department has been benefiting from the help of
several community groups in combating this problem.

In unrelated matters, members voted unanimously to advertise for bids
for a new street department building.

According to project architect Robert Gerometta, the new building will
have 14 bays, 11,500 square feet to house vehicles and 1,500 square
feet of office space. It will also be made of metal with a rock face,
which is basically just concrete blocks colored and given a roughened

This will only be phase one of the project. Phase two will deal with
the construction of a new road and the installation of a salt dome.

In other business, the board of public works:

- - Approved the closure of State Street from The La Porte County
Herald-Argus to the parking lot of Seven from 3-11 p.m. Sept. 13 for
the Farm Dinner Downtown. The event, which will run from 5-9 p.m.,
will feature a family-style Alfresco dining experience for some 250
people. It also will feature locally grown and raised products and a
beer garden.

- - Approved the closure of Michigan Avenue to Jefferson from 2-8 p.m.
Sept. 13 for the 2nd annual Downtown Dog Days in La Porte. The event,
which will run from 3-7 p.m. would feature pet-themed vendors and
rescue outfits. There also would be many dogs on hand for playing and

- - Announced the McClung Road reconstruction project was about four
weeks behind schedule, but that it was still expected to be completed
by the end of November.

- - Announced the retirement of City Planner Mary Jane Thomas, but then
voted to contract with her to provide liaison planning services while
officials searched for a replacement.

- - Approved a new policy for letting businesses use outdoor lighting
outlets. According to the new policy, businesses can use the outdoor
outlets for $5 a month, but usage must be limited to 40 watts, and
only from March to October.  
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