RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — Following anonymous threats made against two village officials this month, New Boston Councilman Dan Fetty requested an armed police officer be stationed at the door of Tuesday night’s meeting of New Boston Village Council.
New Boston Mayor James Warren said somebody called him earlier this month and threatened New Boston Fire Chief Chris Bender and New Boston Village Administrator Steve Hamilton. The nature and wording of the threat was not released, and the caller cannot be positively identified. New Boston Police Chief Darrold Clark said a police report has been filed.
“My concern, and I requested this of the mayor, not knowing what the situation is; not knowing who this person is; this is the 21st century and we’re in a closed, small session room. My concern is for the safety of the fellows who were threatened, the village employees, village council, and the residents,” Fetty said. “I requested a uniformed officer to be outside just as a deterrent. Not for every meeting, just for this one meeting until we had something resolved, and that was refused. Mr. Mayor, I would like know why you refused a uniformed officer just as a deterrent.”
Warren replied, saying that he arrives in the building early every day and knows everyone who comes and goes through the building. Also, Warren said that rather than paying an officer overtime, New Boston Police Chief Darrold Clark already attends all village council meetings and he is always armed.
“I’ve got as high a concern for the safety of the people in this community and within this room. I didn’t see the need for it. We have an officer here. I am also a law enforcement officer. So I felt like things were secure. I told you there would be a law officer here, and there was one,” Warren said, pointing to Chief Clark sitting next to Bender and Hamilton across the room.
Fetty continued to argue his point, saying that he sits right next to the door — too far away to be safely protected if anyone should come inside with a weapon.
“If anyone opens that door he (Clark) is not going to get a shot off, and neither will you (Warren),” Fetty said. “If someone comes in that door, and I’m the first one shot, look out.”
“Do you want me to change your seat?” Warren asked, breaking the tension momentarily as the room began to laugh.
Fetty said it’s a serious situation, pointing at the recent deadly shootings at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin and a movie theater in Colorado.
“We had people who went to a movie theater this last month and they expected everything was going to be fine. Twelve people are dead. There’s no guarantee that somebody isn’t going to come through that door in this situation we’ve been in,” Fetty said. “I just want to make sure we have safe facilities for our people and everyone is covered.”
Warren calmly assured him again, “You will have safe facilities.”
The New Boston Village Council meets in council chambers at the Vern Riffe Community Center on Gallia Street, on the first and third Tuesday of each month. The next council meeting will be Sept. 4 at 6:30 p.m.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.