The village of Mowrystown has a new police chief and five new officers, and has once again changed some of the speed limits in the village, police chief Tyrone Sims said Friday.
Sims, who became a member of the Mowrystown Police Department on Aug. 17 of this year, said he was appointed as interim chief by Mayor Frank Terwilliger on Monday.
“We’re getting a lot of heat from the people, vandalism, and it shouldn’t be that way,” Sims said. “All we’re trying to do is put some police out there. … We’re trying to police a community that hasn’t seen police… What I try to bring is safety to my officers and they, in turn, provide safety to the citizens.”
Sims said he has five officers serving under him. They are Lt. Patrick Glassburn; Sgt. James MacSkimming, who previously worked for two years as a police officer in Mowrystown and has been brought back; officers T.J. Littleton, who has his own K-9 certified to search for drugs, and Andy DeWine; and cadet Katie Burrior.
The speed limit has been changed from 25 mph to 35 mph, Sims said, on SR 321, or Main Street, through the entire village. But Sims said vehicles won’t be ticketed unless they are going more than 10 mph over the new speed limit.
The interim police chief said the speed limit remains 25 mph on Sardinia/Mowrystown Road within the village limits. He said that within the school zone, the speed limit is 20 mph, but that vehicles will not be ticketed unless they are going in excess of 26 mph. He said that’s a slight change from 7 mph over the limit in the school zone that vehicles were previously being allowed.
He said that slight change was made because vehicles have recently been clocked going as fast as 53 mph during restricted hours in the school zone.
Sims also said that according to Ohio law, school zone speed limits are enforceable anywhere within 300 feet of a school zone.
The school zone speed limit is in effect from 6:30 to 8 a.m. and 1:30 to 3 p.m. on days school is in session, Sims said.
As for the speed limit change on Main Street, Sims said the village was “forced to do it by some political monopoly by the sheriff.” Sims said Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera threatened to take the Mowrystown Police Department’s radio and LEADS (Law Enforcement Agencies Data System) away if it didn’t change the speed limit.
But Barrera said Friday that there was no truth to that claim. He said that Mowrystown was going to have to give up its LEADS system, which would basically mean its radios, because the village failed to inform anyone that former chief Jim Webster had resigned. He said that when a new police chief takes over anywhere in the county they are required to sign a LEADS agreement.
Barrera said the problem has since been resolved.
Sims said he is originally from Lebanon, currently lives in Higginsport, and has been in law enforcement since 1991. He said most of his law enforcement work has been part-time, and that he has served as a park ranger, deputy sheriff, worked in a jail, and worked in other villages. He said he is a certified instructor for LIDAR, the kind of camera Mowrystown started using in late August to much controversy to issue the vast majority of its speeding tickets, radar and firearms.
“To my knowledge, I’m the first African American police chief in Highland County,” Sims said.
He also said he’s planning to offer concealed carry classes to the public for $25 and that the proceeds will be donated to the village police and fire departments. He said anyone interested can contact the village office and set up a date.
The new police officers, including himself, Sims said, are all part-time. He said they will be working varying shifts, including some at night.
“I’d just like to let people know our officers are open to discuss anything, including the tickets, but they have to understand those are handled by another company,” Sims said.
He said anyone with a police department issue can reach him anytime at 513-693-1728.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected]