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Safety Board Meeting Minutes 2022

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Meeting Minutes

01-17-2022 Safety Board

January 17, 2022 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called the St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order on Monday, January 17, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present in alphabetical order: Richard Janowiak, Robert Kmetz, Patrick Moran, and Raymond Paradiso. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Kevin LaDuke, Fire Chief; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. Absent: Steve DeJong, Board Member; Chris Salatas, Town Manager; and Attorney Adam Decker. A quorum was attained.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

Mr. Janowiak called for nominations concerning the 2022 election of Safety Board Officers.

Mr. Moran nominated Richard Janowiak for President. Mr. Janowiak called for a second, although he did not believe one was needed. Mr. Kmetz commented that he abstains from voting. Mr. Moran believed that they did need a second vote. Mr. Janowiak called for all in favor. Voice Vote: 3 approved with Mr. Kmetz abstaining.

Mr. Janowiak called for the nomination for Vice President. Mr. Moran nominated Robert Kmetz. Mr. Janowiak called for a second, and commented that one was not needed. Mr. Moran said that a second is needed. Mr. Paradiso made the second. Voice Vote: 3 approved with Mr. Kmetz abstaining.

Mr. Janowiak called for the nomination for Secretary. Mr. Paradiso nominated Patrick Moran. Mr. Moran made the second. Voice Vote: 3 approved with Mr. Kmetz abstaining.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the December 20, 2021 regular meeting. Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Voice Vote: 3 approved with Mr. Kmetz abstaining.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Fire Department – Chief LaDuke
For the month of December 2021, The St. John Fire Department responded to 191 EMS patient contacts. Of those patients, 74% were ALS-1, 1% was ALS-2, and 25% were BLS. The vast majority of transports are residents at 74% with non-residents at 26%. Most transports were sent to Franciscan Health Dyer at 49% followed closely by Franciscan Health Crown Point at 30%. The total monies generated are $146,150 with total monies received of $66,601.

Regarding fire calls, there were 252 incidents; 206 were in St. John corporate limits, 15 St. John (Dyer address), none in St. John (Crown Point address), and 3 in St. John (Cedar Lake address). Contracted area consisted of 16 calls and mutual aid at 11.

For the year of 2021, the Fire Department finished with 2,200 incidents and will have the details attached to the minutes.

B. Police Department – Chief Flores
From December 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 16,931 miles and responded to 513 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 15 arrests with 34 charges being filed. There were 39 traffic citations issued, along with 59 written warnings, for a total of 98 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $1,000, other thefts totaled $4,440, and recovered property totaled $200.

Chief Flores reported that the Aftermath K9 Grant was received in the amount of $250. Also, the Department received word that they were selected for the body camera grant. The paperwork was submitted and they are awaiting the next steps in the process. This was save much money as the body cameras integrate with the current system.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Fire Department
1. Staffing Update
Chief LaDuke reported that Lindsey Kusbel was offered employment to fill the vacancy by Rob Van Kuiken. She was approved by the local PERF board and the application was sent to the State of Indiana. He anticipates Lindsey beginning by the end of the month.

Also, COVID has hit the Department hard. An entire crew was off as well as Chief LaDuke. They are managing, but at a tight level with many holdovers. Chief did speak with the Town Council and Town Manager regarding application of the 2022 SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Grant. This is a federal grant for funding firefighters. The Department is applying for 6 positions. This number is not guaranteed by either the Town or the grant.

2. General Orders Update
Chief LaDuke reported that he was seeking the Board’s suggestion on amendments and return of changes on a timetable that works for them.
3. Benefits Update
Chief LaDuke thanked the Board for supporting them during 2021. The Town Council approved the vacation update that matches the Police Department. A significant raise was approved at $3,000 and 3%.
B. Police Department
1. Conditional Offer of Employment Update
Chief Flores reported that the upcoming 24th officer completed medical and psychological testing. There were a few more items needed as the application changed during 2021 and the doctor was not made aware. Chief Flores anticipates approval of the revised application by the beginning of February. The local Pension Board approved the new officer, and when approval comes from the state, the officer will be sworn in. The new hire is currently an officer in Illinois. He will go through an abbreviated training with a 40-hour pre-basic, which is done online to get started. This will allow him to work the street, and then he will go downstate to test for firearms, criminal law, and EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course).

NEW BUSINESS:

None

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Johnny Boersma of 11930 West 103rd Court, President and Founder of Mission One Foundation, addressed the need for the K9 Officers to have updated bite suits for training. Mission One intends to provide the K9 Officers with new suits that cost roughly $1,600 to $1,800. The total cost for both suits is about $3,400. Once the order is placed, it will take 8 to 10 weeks to be delivered. Mr. Boersma also introduced Sarah O’Farril, Miss Northwest Indiana Teen, who is seeking sponsorship and volunteer work.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Paradiso made the motion to adjourn with second made by Mr. Moran. Voice Vote: 3 approved with Mr. Kmetz abstaining. Meeting adjourned at approximately 6:18 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

02-14-2022 Safety Board

February 14, 2022 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called the St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order on Monday, February 14, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Steve DeJong, Board Member; Robert Kmetz, Board Member; Patrick Moran, Secretary; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Kevin LaDuke, Fire Chief; Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison; and Katie Szczepanski; Chief Deputy Clerk. Absent: Raymond Paradiso, Vice President. A quorum was attained.

OATHS OF OFFICE:

Chief Deputy Clerk Katie Szczepanski gave the Oath of Office to the Police Department’s new hire Dustin Wartman. His badge, Unit 37, was presented to him by Chief Flores. Officer Wartman served 8 years at Chicago Heights Police Department. He will be the 24th Officer at St. John Police.

Chief Deputy Szczepanski also gave the Oath of Office to new Firefighter/EMT Lindsay Kusbel with Badge #27 being presented by Chief LaDuke. Fire Officer Kusbel has served at Lake Hills Fire Department.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the January 17, 2022 regular meeting. Mr. Kmetz made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. All were in favor by voice vote.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Fire Department – Chief LaDuke
For the month of January 2022, The St. John Fire Department responded to 137 EMS patient contacts. Of those patients, 82% were ALS-1, 2% were ALS-2, and 16% were BLS. The majority of transports are residents at 67% with non-residents at 33%. Most transports were sent to Franciscan Health Dyer at 44% followed closely by Franciscan Health Crown Point at 39%. The total monies generated are $98,138 with total monies received of $64,610.

Regarding fire calls, there were 183 incidents; 154 were in St. John corporate limits, 10 St. John (Dyer address), 1 in St. John (Crown Point address), and none in St. John (Cedar Lake address). Contracted area consisted of 8 calls and mutual aid at 10.

B. Police Department – Chief Flores
From January 1, 2022 through January 31, 2022, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 20,820 miles and responded to 537 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 13 arrests with 20 charges being filed. There were 69 traffic citations issued, along with 104 written warnings, for a total of 173 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $0, other thefts totaled $4,733, and recovered property totaled $0.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Fire Department
1. Staffing Update
Information will be addressed in New Business.
2. General Orders Update
Chief LaDuke reported that he received feedback from the Board and will submit another revision in the next week for another review.

Mr. DeJong asked Chief LaDuke how many candidates were left on the Eligibility List. Chief answered that there were 4 candidates remaining.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Fire Department
1. Bedroom Project
Chief LaDuke received 3 bids for separation of sleeping quarters. One large room upstairs will be transformed into 3 rooms for male and female quarters concerning part-time personnel. A purchase request has been submitted to Town Council for upcoming approval.
2. Appropriation Transfers for Full Time
For the last two years, the part-time schedule has been reviewed for shortages. There were many instances where the shifts were not filled. Also, the promotion of Deputy Chief Gillette caused a vacancy for a full-time officer. A transfer request will be submitted to the Town Council in order to move appropriations from the part-time line item to full-time.
3. New Chief Squad
In the 5-year Capital Plan, there is money for a new Chief’s squad. The Department looked at a Ford F-150 today. The current squad is a 2012 Chevy Tahoe with 98,000 miles. This purchase will come in front of Council at their next meeting.

Liaison Mike Schilling requested a recommendation from the Safety Board for the appropriation transfers and the new squad.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion for a favorable recommendation on the appropriation transfers to full-time staff. Mr. Moran made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote.

Mr. Janowiak also entertained a motion for a favorable recommendation on the purchase of a new squad for the Chief. Mr. Kmetz asked about the make and model preference. Chief LaDuke explained that the Department is getting free lights and a discounted price for detailing, and other items, in return for showcasing the truck at the Indianapolis conference. Mr. DeJong made the motion with second made by Mr. Moran. All were in favor by voice vote.

B. Police Department
1. K-9 Unit Status
Chief Flores reported that K-9 Match has developed a genetic disease that is causing his hind legs to give out. The disease is unexpected and not curable. If Match lays for a long period of time, it is difficult for him to regain his posture. Once he begins moving around, his walking gets better, however, the disease will progress to his head where he will no longer have control of his body. Officer Adams will need to retire Match soon to avoid any risk of injury. Chief Flores added that there is $7,000 from fundraising and the cost for a new K-9 will be $14,500. He drafted a letter to the Town Council as it was unexpected to replace Match this year. He is requesting that the Council approve the remaining funding needed. A new class begins this spring for Officer Adams to attend.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion for a favorable recommendation to the Council for a new K-9. Mr. Kmetz made the motion with second made by Mr. Moran. All were in favor by voice vote.

2. Additional Officers through Cares Act Funding
Chief Flores reported that there have been discussions with the Town Council concerning Cares Act funding. The Town received $4.2 million from the federal government that must be spent by the end of 2025. The funds can be used for Public Safety Fire and Police. Additional manpower is needed as discussed in the past. Chief’s goal is to have 3 officers on shift at all times. There are many instances where only 2 officers are on duty due to vacation days, training, and related. He recommends 4 officers to cover shifts and meet the demands of the growing community. He understands the cost and provided such to some of the Board Members and Council reflecting the funding of 3 to 5 officers. Once 2025 is complete, the Town will need to cover the full cost of salaries. The cost for 3 officers would run over $300,000. Mr. Schilling mentioned that the financial consultants are reviewing this matter. Chief Flores is requesting a favorable recommendation from the Safety Board.

Mr. DeJong asked if legal counsel has reviewed the topic to ensure that funds can be used for manpower. Mr. Schilling answered that the attorney has reviewed it. The financial consultants are now reviewing the revenue stream to ensure that the additional officers can be funded after the Cares Act money is depleted.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to recommend 4 additional officers be funded through the Cares Act. Mr. DeJong made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote.

Mr. Janowiak also addressed a matter that came to the Board’s attention recently. There were comments posted on Facebook that violated the Personnel Policy. He added that the Board is not handling it—the Chiefs shall address such matters appropriately and quickly. Mr. DeJong added that the Board noted what was occurring. It was an embarrassment to the community, and the Town itself. He also mentioned that there is plenty of case law available proving that there is no First Amendment protection when bringing the Town into the discussion. He expects better behavior from the employees.

Mr. Kmetz commended Chief LaDuke and staff for a recent ambulance call to a relative’s house. Their services were phenomenal.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Moran made the motion to adjourn with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote. Meeting adjourned at 6:26 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

03-21-2022 Safety Board

March 21, 2022 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called the St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order on Monday, March 21, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Steve DeJong, Board Member; *Robert Kmetz, Vice President; Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso, Board Member; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: David Demeter, Deputy Police Chief; Kevin LaDuke, Fire Chief; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. Absent: Steven Flores, Police Chief. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the February 14, 2022 regular meeting. Mr. DeJong made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. All were in favor by voice vote. *Robert Kmetz appeared at 6:01 p.m., seated after vote.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Fire Department – Chief LaDuke
For the month of February 2022, The St. John Fire Department responded to 131 EMS patient contacts. Of those patients, 79% were ALS-1, 2% were ALS-2, and 19% were BLS. The majority of transports are residents at 79% with non-residents at 21%. Most transports were sent to Franciscan Health Dyer at 45% followed closely by Franciscan Health Crown Point at 33%. The total monies generated are $104,113 with total monies received of $55,066.

Regarding fire calls, there were 162 incidents; 129 were in St. John corporate limits, 5 St. John (Dyer address), 3 in St. John (Crown Point address), and 3 in St. John (Cedar Lake address). Contracted area consisted of 14 calls and mutual aid at 8.

B. Police Department – Chief Flores
From February 1, 2022 through February 28, 2022, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 19,800 miles and responded to 526 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 21 arrests with 31 charges being filed. There were 204 traffic citations issued, along with 209 written warnings, for a total of 413 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $0, other thefts totaled $7,895, and recovered property totaled $943.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Fire Department
1. Staffing Update
The St. John Town Council should be discussing the replacement of the vacancy created by Deputy Chief Gillette’s promotion at their meeting on March 23. Appropriations would be transferred from part-time to full-time to cover the position. This position was approved by the Safety Board in February.

Chief LaDuke reported that there were no updates on the applied grants; Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) or Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG). Both grants are through FEMA.

Mr. DeJong asked about the status of the Eligibility List. Chief LaDuke reported that there are 4 candidates remaining. The first candidate may pose no interest. The second candidate continues to be interested. The third and fourth candidates are working at other departments and no longer want to be on the list. He also stated that Niko Vukovic was accepted into medical school at IU and will be leaving in May. The Department will need to be advertising soon to create a new list.

Mr. DeJong reported that the SAFER Grant will have an update in June.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Fire Department
1. General Orders Version 1 Approval
Chief LaDuke requested a motion to approve the General Orders submitted for review. Mr. Paradiso stated that he reviewed the orders up to 4-21. He added that the Board could approve up to that point. Mr. DeJong understood the difficulty in not having approved SOGs to rely on. He suggested approving what has been submitted with the ability to make changes if the need arises. The liability increases by not having such guidelines. Mr. Moran stated that the guidelines were very professional and will be good for the agency.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the General Orders. Mr. Moran made the motion with second made by Mr. Paradiso. All were in favor by voice vote.

B. Police Department
1. Emergency Hire Approval
Deputy Chief Demeter reported that an officer is leaving the Department at the end of the month. With the staffing levels at the rate they are, the Department is requesting to begin the process of establishing a new Emergency Hire Eligibility List and hiring from that list to replace the departing officer. This is the same process as the one performed in 2020 and worked well. There was a tentative timeline provided to the Board for a new officer to start mid-May.

Mr. DeJong asked if the Department had a current list. Deputy Chief Demeter answered that they do, but it is the regular list for all hires. The Emergency Hire would present an Academy-certified officer, eliminating the 6-month delay to train and the full Field Officer Training (FTO) procedure. Due to the leave of Officer Patzschke, this takes away a third to a half of the actual duty crews. It can be fixed for a very short time, but taking into consideration training days, vacation, sick time, and so on, the Department will be hurting for experienced personnel. If the Board will allow the Emergency Hire process, the timing would be greatly reduced. The Cares Act funding that was previously discussed can help with adding new officers to the roster and creating a new list for the general Police Eligibility List.

Mr. DeJong asked to be walked through the process for an Emergency Hire. D.C. Demeter explained that the Department sends out a release on Spillman, Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, social media, and other sources, for an Indiana Academy-accredited officer currently in the 1977 pension plan in good standing. This avoids the time involved in a physical and psychological evaluation. Interviews are conducted, and then the Chief reviews the points along with eligible points for education and military experience. The list is established based on those factors.

Mr. DeJong asked if the Board was involved in the process. Mr. Janowiak answered that they were not. He continued by stating that since the current Board has been in place, there have been two officers hired above what the Department had, and now they will be losing one. He believes that the Department is still technically plus one. D.C. Demeter explained that they had one extra officer and they are at 24 now. Officer Wartman came from the general Eligibility List established back in October 2020. Mr. Janowiak added that he believes someone was hired from the Emergency List also. Mr. Schilling explained that there have been times, when it was not an announcement of retirement or adding people, that the Department used the emergency process, even before 2020. The Department will go through the emergency process when they don’t need a certified officer. The general list does not have all trained officers on it. Mr. Schilling added that possibly seven times in the past there has been a leave with such sudden notice; as in the case of leaving for another job. D.C. Demeter reiterated that they literally received four days’ notice.

Discussion ensued concerning replacement versus additional personnel. D.C. Demeter stressed that with Officer Patzschke leaving, the shortfall will be felt much more than waiting for two extra personnel to come onto the crew. It is not known if those on the active, general list are trained at this time. Mr. Paradiso reasoned that perhaps the Department should take from the active list one who is trained and go from there. Mr. Moran and D.C. Demeter explained that one cannot be taken from the list at random. Each candidate has been ranked on the list; written test, interview, military experience, and college education. The general list would be used if the Department is allowed to hire additional officers with the Cares Act funding. Mr. Kmetz confirmed with D.C. Demeter that if a candidate on the regular list is certified, that person can be selected for an emergency hire as well.

Mr. Janowiak added that some candidates on the Emergency Hire list did not take the written test. Some candidates were on both lists, the general list where the test was taken, and the emergency list with no test. D.C. Demeter stated that the Emergency Hire list is valid for a shorter period of time. Mr. DeJong recapped that the Board needs to know if the current list has qualified candidates. The Board has heard that candidates cannot get hired in St. John unless they are a certified police officer. They are trying to take that stigma away. He added that it is not considered equal opportunity hiring. The question is what constitutes and emergency.

Mr. DeJong argued that there are more officers since the Board has been established, but they are still back to having an emergency. D.C. Demeter explained that having been on the Department for 26 years, when one officer is taken from a crew of 24, that is an emergency. It is agreed that the Department should have more officers than the current number. Taking one officer away causes more scheduling and safety issues. A crew of 3 now becomes 2 and it is felt. The newest officer, Officer Wartman, was an additional officer as he was not counted on the schedule prior. Now he is added and that adjusts training days, vacation time, an unscheduled sick day, and so on. Further discussion ensued comparing the emergency hire to the general list. In conclusion, the Board agreed to consult with legal counsel, and seek the establishment of an Emergency Hire List.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to establish the Emergency Hire List, starting the process, and use of it would be determined on the answer based on Attorney Decker’s legal opinion. Mr. DeJong made the motion to begin the establishment procedure for an Emergency Hire List, and then based on the outcome from legal counsel, they will make the determination next month as to defer the actual answer of what list they are going to hire off of until next month. Mr. Kmetz made the second. Mr. Moran asked if they received the legal opinion tomorrow, could we make a stipulation based on if he says not to do the List. Mr. DeJong answered that it would be good to have the List posted in case something catastrophic occurred. Deputy Chief Demeter added that there is no written test required for the Emergency Hire. The probationary period is generally 6 months for a trained officer and 12 months for an inexperienced officer. Mr. Janowiak called for a second. Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion and Mr. Paradiso did the same. Mr. Paradiso’s second was accepted for the record. All were in favor by voice vote.

2. Promotion Process Approval
Deputy Chief Demeter reported that the written test will be on Tuesday, April 12 at 4:00 p.m. Depending on the test results, interviews will be conducted on Tuesday, April 26 at 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 30 starting at 9:00 a.m. Mr. Janowiak and Mr. Moran will be participating in the process.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the process as stated. Mr. Moran made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote.

3. K9 Match Retirement
Deputy Chief Demeter reported that K9 Match will be retiring after 8-1/2 years of service with the Department. Officer Adams is his handler and will be given consideration at the Town Council meeting on March 23 to purchase him for $1.00. Match will continue to reside with Officer Adams. A replacement K9 has been approved and there are some further details to review for the training.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Paradiso made the motion to adjourn with second made by Mr. DeJong. All were in favor by voice vote. Meeting adjourned at 6:27 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

04-18-2022 Safety Board

April 18, 2022 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called the St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order on Monday, April 18, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Robert Kmetz, Vice President; Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso, Board Member; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Kevin LaDuke, Fire Chief; Adam Decker, Attorney; Joseph Wiszowaty, Town Manager; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. Absent: Steve DeJong, Board Member. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the March 21, 2022 regular meeting. Mr. Kmetz made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Paradiso seconded the motion. All were in favor by voice vote.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Fire Department – Chief LaDuke
For the month of March 2022, The St. John Fire Department responded to 125 EMS patient contacts. Of those patients, 83% were ALS-1, 1% were ALS-2, and 16% were BLS. The majority of transports are residents at 69% with non-residents at 31%. Most transports were sent to Franciscan Health Dyer at 49% followed closely by Franciscan Health Crown Point at 35%. The total monies generated are $96,114 with total monies received of $69,481.

Regarding fire calls, there were 158 incidents; 128 were in St. John corporate limits, 9 St. John (Dyer address), 3 in St. John (Crown Point address), and 2 in St. John (Cedar Lake address). Contracted area consisted of 7 calls and mutual aid at 9.

B. Police Department – Chief Flores
From March 1, 2022 through March 31, 2022, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 25,482 miles and responded to 606 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 22 arrests with 38 charges being filed. There were 321 traffic citations issued, along with 317 written warnings, for a total of 638 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $0, other thefts totaled $76,850, and recovered property totaled $0.

Regarding the thefts, there was nearly $50,000 defrauded from an elderly person through a gift card scam. The investigation tracked the fraud to India, therefore, not much can be done at this point.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Fire Department
1. New Hire Update
Chief LaDuke reported that the new hire is undergoing the PERF process. He received word that the psychological exam was good, and one item is pending on the medical exam. There will be a local pension board meeting and documentation sent to the state. He anticipates this will take place by the end of April for the new hire to begin work in May.
B. Police Department
1. Emergency Hire Approval
Chief Flores began by discussing the promotion process that took place recently. Mr. Moran and Mr. Janowiak were present at the testing. There were 8 candidates with 5 passing the test. The interviews will take place next week.

Concerning the emergency hire process, there were 26 applications picked up. They were due by the end of today at 4:00 p.m. Out of the 26 applications, 16 were returned with 1 being ineligible due to non-participation in Police PERF. A total of 15 candidates will be moving forward. Tentatively, the next step is the interview process from May 2 through May 6. The applications will be reviewed to make sure all documentation is included. This information will be forwarded to the Safety Board for upcoming interviews. After the interviews, the list will be established for a candidate to be ready for hire at the May 16 Safety Board meeting.

Discussion ensued regarding the motion made at the last meeting if the Board wanted to take a candidate from the existing hire list. Mr. Janowiak asked Attorney Decker if that could be done. Attorney Decker answered. “Yes Mr. Chair. The Indiana law, in particularly in an emergency situation, there’s no real constraints on the town’s ability to hire someone, whether they were on the original candidates’ list or not, as long as they’re qualified, as long as they otherwise meet the legal qualifications to become a police officer. So, I guess from a legal perspective, there would be nothing to prohibit the board from considering one of those candidates, or one of those persons on that candidates’ list.”

Mr. Janowiak added that the discussion would then be if this is really an emergency hire. A 24th officer was hired “two meetings ago” which places the department “at one extra”. He reasoned that out of 3 officers, 2 were emergencies. If they do an emergency hire now, including the recent hire for a total of 4 officers, that’s 3 emergency hires; equating to 75% of the hires as an emergency.

At this point, debate ensued among the Board Members to define an emergency hire and any legalities present.

Mr. Moran was not in favor of hiring from the current candidate list. He believed that it was not fair to the other candidates on that list because the 5th candidate was qualified under PERF. He was not comfortable passing up the candidates above the 5th candidate, especially if the Board adopts an emergency hire list. Mr. Janowiak argued that by hiring the first candidate on the list, apparently there are civilians who are not qualified police officers on that list who could score better than police officers. In addition, they want to take the emergency hires and the only thing is that they are in the pension fund, and there is an oral interview. There is no physical or no psychological exam. The Town could inherit someone with a problem that is not known to the Board. Chief Flores added that this is why background checks are performed. Mr. Janowiak was concerned about physical problems. He added that he could probably pass a physical, but would not be able to perform on the street at this time.

Mr. Moran asked Chief Flores about the Indiana Code concerning an exemption. Chief Flores responded that exams are required for the PERF application. An emergency hire speeds up the process. Losing an officer in a last-minute notice, as in this case, causes an issue. The resigning officer would be 1 of 2 on duty at times. This matter creates an emergency. To circumvent this, and get an officer on the street quickly, the emergency hire process is done. Mr. Moran asked about any health issue that the applicant may possess. Chief Flores explained that the emergency hire does not require such testing as they already accomplished this to be accepted by PERF. Mr. Moran could not find a law that exempted such an applicant from said testing. Attorney Decker read I.C. 36-8-3.2-2 that states, “A person who is an applicant to become a firefighter or police officer must before being hired be certified by the local board to the Board of Trustees of the Indiana Public Retirement System as having passed the minimum agility and aptitude tests outlined in this chapter.” He concluded that there is no specific exemption for which the Board refers.

Mr. Paradiso commented that just because a physical was taken 10 years ago to be in the pension fund does not mean that it can be passed today. Mr. Moran agreed, but one of the big items he sees is hiring from an emergency list with an applicant having a physical defect. Chief Flores responded that an applicant could be required to take an exam if that is wanted by the Board. Mr. Moran believed that the Board had the authority to make such stipulations. Chief Flores added that it will take more time, but it was understood.

Mr. Kmetz asked Chief Flores how many hours the resigning officer spent between the task force and the Town. Chief Flores responded that the officer worked 84 hours every two weeks, and the officer performed 20 yours per month for the task force. Mr. Janowiak commented that the recently hired officer should be ready to go based on discussion two months ago, and this still leaves the department with 23 officers. In no way does this make them deficient. He added that in May, when another officer was an emergency hire, it was strictly done so an officer could be placed in the detective division where that could have been delayed for a while. He didn’t know what particular positions could be re-assigned or assignments that could be shared.

Chief Flores said that a couple of the Board Members mentioned this is all we ever do (referring to emergency hires), because that is all the department has ever been allowed to do. It was not very often when the Police Department was given an addition; the department was always plugging holes. This is the reason why it appears that emergency hires are done all the time. Long before the Safety Board ever existed, Chief Flores stressed that he has been with the St. John Police Department for 20 years. He can probably count on one hand the number of times that they were allowed an additional officer.

Secondly, it is agreed that the Department is shorthanded. In his opinion, the Police Department needs 5 or 6 more people to arrive at 3 officers per shift. For the safety of this Town and its residents, until the Department gets to that number, it’s an emergency. He needs to do everything he can, and as quick as he can, to fill those numbers and get bodies on the street. It’s been discussed numerous times how the Police Department and Fire Department are shorthanded. He added that even Mr. Janowiak said that they need at least 4 every shift. Until Chief Flores can get to that manpower, it’s an emergency.

Mr. Janowiak argued that based on the current theory, if there are 4 tomorrow and someone quits, the answer is that they are now short a guy on a shift, and it’s got to be an emergency. Chief Flores said, “Exactly, you’re absolutely correct, and that’s how every department around here does it, and we’ve done that numerous times.” He added that the Town is supposed to get the ARPA funds, and hopefully, the Council will give them a couple extra officers that could be hired from the current list.

Chief Flores also reported that he spoke with both Attorney Decker and Attorney Westland, the Town’s Attorney. Chief Flores stated, “...and his exact words were ‘If you hire off this current list, there’s nothing that says you can’t’, okay? There’s no law, and Mr. Decker, please correct me if I’m wrong. There’s no law whatsoever that prevents us from hiring off that list, which I agree with, there’s not. But Mr. Westland’s exact words were ‘if you do that and skip a couple people, I would embarrass you on a deposition without even having to try’.” Chief Flores stressed that “yes” there is no law, but he doesn’t want to be the reason why one is made. Mr. Janowiak chimed in that no one could get embarrassed in a deposition that we keep doing emergency hires. Mr. Paradiso added, “How can you be embarrassed when you can justify it by ‘I need an emergency police officer. This man’s on the list. He’s qualified. Hire him’.” Chief Flores explained that when it was established, this was the certain criteria needed to make the list. Being a certified police officer in PERF was not one of those. If a candidate is 2 or 3 on the list, and they are skipped to hire the 5th candidate, there is a problem with that, and both attorneys agreed with Chief Flores. This could pose a lawsuit. Mr. Paradiso continued by questioning that it is okay to do an emergency hire, but it is not okay to hire a trained officer off that list (referring to the current list) ahead of somebody else. Again, Chief Flores stated that they should not skip over somebody. There are people who scored better than somebody that is a certified officer on the previous list.

Town Manager Wiszowaty asked if they are doing an emergency hire, the candidate that submitted for that number 2 or number 5 spot would still have the same options to submit for the emergency hire list as well? Chief Flores and at least one Board Member answered “yes.” Mr. Janowiak added that all the people on the emergency hire list had every opportunity to submit an application for “off the list.” Mr. Wiszowaty agreed, however, one cannot skip over a candidate to get to another candidate. Mr. Janowiak, and one other board member, said that it can be done. It is just to be pointed out that maybe someone would sue them. Mr. Paradiso said, “They’d lose the lawsuit, but you’d be embarrassed because it’s legal to do.” Mr. Wiszowaty added that they would be spending a lot of money to defend it as well. Chief Flores commented that there are two different sets of criteria for the emergency hire list and the regular list.

Mr. Janowiak continued to discuss the matter re-iterating earlier discussion and mentioning that some people could be re-assigned temporarily until a new hire is trained. Chief Flores asked if the current list had the following criteria: requirement to be a police officer, and requirement to be a member of PERF. Mr. Janowiak answered “no” to both criteria. Chief Flores continued to ask that if the list was certified, and the ranking was done based on how it proceeded, and they start from one, sequentially working down the list, candidates would be hired in that matter. Mr. Janowiak agreed with the sequence as described. Chief Flores then asked if he was willing to skip number 2 and 3 to go to number 5. Mr. Janowiak said, “No, not if we hire off the new hire list, no.” He added that the emergency hire law says they can do it.

Mr. Moran summarized that the Board is not “big fans of the emergency hire.” It is difficult to get a job on the St. John Police Department “off the list” due to the emergency hires. He does not believe that they should have approved the emergency hire process last meeting with the stipulation of finding out if they could hire the 5th person off the existing list. Because the Board did approve as such, there are now 15 candidates who applied for an emergency hire expecting to be placed on the list. He feels that the Board allowed the process to happen, and they should stick with the process. He recommends to hire off the list. Mr. Moran added that the process should be modified for the future making it more specific on when the need occurs. He added that this has been discussed since they became a board. The emergency hire process was brought up 3 or 4 times in an open meeting, but nothing was done about it. Even though the Board is not a fan of the process, they did not do anything about it. They are now stuck in this situation. Summer is coming up and it will get busier, and Chief Flores mentioned he is doing things for the safety of the residents.

Mr. Moran also commented that they have discussed the need for more police officers. He stated that it seems hypocritical being for more police, but yet, they are placing regulations on getting the police. Mr. Janowiak said that they are not placing regulations on getting the police; they are placing regulations on how they get them. He re-iterated earlier discussion about the 24th officer and dropping to 23, and added a comment about the Town Council’s part in allowing additional hires. Mr. Moran said that they need to define an emergency hire. Again, Mr. Janowiak expressed that 3 out of 4 hires certainly can’t be an emergency, and there are conditions when an emergency does arrive.

Chief Flores asked Mr. Janowiak, in his opinion, what then constitutes an emergency? Mr. Janowiak answered that a couple officers, 2 or 3, could be injured in some form causing a shortage, and if they were allowed to be replaced. In addition, if they didn’t allow them to be replaced (referring to the Town Council), because even if the Police Department could, they would still be “extra hires” the Department would run into the same problem. Chief Flores stated that the Department has 2 officers who were injured on light duty, and 1 just left. The officer who left was 1 of 2 officers, several times throughout the schedule, so if 2 are on light duty, and 1 is gone, leading 1 on a shift, is that an emergency? Mr. Janowiak said “not necessarily.” Chief Flores asked if he was okay with 1 officer on a shift. Mr. Janowiak answered, “No, I’m not okay with it.” He added that there could be other people re-assigned. Chief Flores understood his comment, but there needed to be an understanding of the circumstances that the Police Department is in at this time. He has 2 officers on light duty, and 1 officer that left. Mr. Paradiso said, “So you’re down to 21 officers.” Mr. Janowiak again said it doesn’t always have to be an emergency. There are people who can be re-assigned. Chief Flores said that they have had numerous conversations about how dangerously low manpower is, and he cannot afford to wait a year to get boots on the ground.

Chief Flores stressed that he knows what he needs to run the Department and does not agree with the process wanted by the Safety Board. There have been two attorneys and the Town Manager telling you it could be done legally, but it is probably not a good idea. The Board is opening up potential lawsuits. Mr. Janowiak asked Attorney Decker if a lawsuit was possible. Attorney Decker said, “Mr. Chair, as an attorney, I tell people anybody can sue anybody for any reason whether it has merit or not. I think Chief Flores’s comments are valid in the policy realm in terms what will be the policy of the Board and of the Town considering what an emergency hire is. I think that discussion is very appropriate to really define what truly is an emergency, and then if it is an emergency that qualifies, then what steps would be taken, and I think Chief Flores’s comments are valid in that regard.”

Attorney Decker continued, “As I stated earlier, there’s nothing in Indiana law, either the code or cases that I’ve reviewed since this has been brought to my attention that prohibits the Board from taking any action in considering an emergency hire, but that’s not the policy question; that’s just strictly is it legal. So, is it possible one of the candidates could assert a lawsuit that might have some merit or validity if someone is skipped over? Yes, that’s certainly possible. I can’t give you an opinion about who wins, who loses, what the merits are, what the strength of the case is, or the weakness. I really can’t do that.” Mr. Janowiak stated, “No, I understand that, and what I’m getting at, okay, is that with some amendments, we can continue with an emergency hire process, but at this point, because the 24th officer we just hired was also an additional, we keep you at the level you were at, and we turn around and hire someone off the new hire list, but that’s my opinion.”

Mike Schilling addressed the Board at this point. The Town Council selects a department head, and he stands behind the Chief in the decisions that are made. He hopes that the Board stands behind the Police Chief tonight and the decision that he makes. It has been difficult for the past year to keep people employed, especially at the higher levels, because the Council is not standing behind some of their decisions. He would feel respected by the Safety Board if they would stand behind Chief Flores’s decision tonight. Mr. Janowiak believes that they have stood by all his decisions, and in two-and-a-half years, gave him everything that was asked of them without any questions, which sometimes they should. This is not to disrespect the Chief. This procedure was discussed back in 2020 and it seems like it is incorrect, and needing to be discussed. The topic never came back up again until last month’s meeting.

Mr. Moran asked Chief Flores if he would be agreeable to meet with the Board to define an emergency hire. Chief Flores agreed and said it would take only two minutes to figure it out. Mr. Moran commented that Chief was set on that, and Chief Flores added that he would be in favor of discussion.

Mr. Kmetz said that they fell into the problem declaring everything an emergency hire. He was not totally opposed to the emergency hire list, and what they are accomplishing now. He also knows they need officers on the street. He feels it is important to define what an emergency is, so they are not having the same conversation in a month or two. Unfortunately, history established it was always an emergency hire because the funds weren’t available to hire a regular officer. From a board perspective, they would like to see the Department being brought closer to the level that is needed and get away from calling everything an emergency hire. Mr. Kmetz added that being this situation is different, he is not totally opposed to creating an emergency hire list and bringing somebody in, but going forward, it’s important to define an emergency hire. Chief Flores agreed and wants to sit with the Board to determine this definition.

In July, the Department may be losing another officer due to retirement. Mr. Paradiso concluded that this seems to be a “vicious circle for Northwest Indiana” where one department does an emergency hire and takes an officer away from them, and then another department does the same.

Mr. Wiszowaty asked what the minimum requirements are for the Department. Chief Flores answered that it was 2 officers per shift, but they are trying to do everything possible to make it 3 per shift. Mr. Wiszowaty stated that the minimum staffing for a town of 20,000 people is 2 officers. In that respect, if the requirement fell below the 3 or 2 threshold, would that constitute an emergency? Chief Flores answered “yes.” He then asked if that is where the Department is at today. Chief answered “yes.” Mr. Wiszowaty just wanted some clarification.

Mr. Paradiso provided his perspective. He said, “Here’s where I need some clarification sitting here. You got 24 people on this department. I know you’re one of the 24. I know you’ve got a deputy chief that’s one of the 24. I know you have two schools officers; that’s part of the 24, and I know you have 2 detectives. So, that’s 6 off of 24 makes 19. You divide 19 by 4 shifts; that’s 4.75 guys a shift. Now how do you only have 1 guy a shift when you have,” and Chief Flores answered that they have vacations, training, sick time, comp time, and personal days. Mr. Paradiso added, “So the most you should have off on a shift is 2. So that leaves you 2 guys on the street.” Chief Flores answered “we do that.” He then asked Mr. Paradiso “and you’re okay with just 2 guys?” Mr. Paradiso answered, “No, I’m not okay with it. I would like to see 4 to 5 guys on the street at a time. Personally, in a great world, that’s what I would love to see in this town even more, as this town expands. I’ve driven this town.” Chief Flores added, “And, again, we’ve already been doing that, so we’re ahead of you.”

Mr. Paradiso would like to give the Department everything they want, but on the other hand, he wants to see some of the people who want to become police officers be able to become police officers. Chief Flores agreed and implied that it was Town Council’s decision. He added that when the Department is in the current situation, he cannot afford to wait that long. It goes the same for the Fire Department as well if 3 people are on an engine and 1 is lost, the position needs to be filled. They would have to use overtime, but the Police Department does not have that much overtime. Chief Flores is asking if they would vote to hire from the new emergency hire list that will be established. This is his request and recommendation.

Mr. Janowiak stated he was not against an emergency hire, and it needs some adjustments, as well as other issues for discussion that need to be addressed. In January 2022, there were 23 officers. In February, there were 24. In April, they’re back at 23. He doesn’t know how to constitute an emergency in two months. Chief Flores said that until he can get 27 to 29 officers, 3 per shift minimum, everyone one of them is an emergency.

Mr. Janowiak again brought up the 23 vs. 24 officer scenario. They hired a 24th officer, and then someone retires tomorrow; quits with no notice, he doesn’t understand where the emergency is coming in. They are still at the level they’ve been at for 3 years. Mr. Schilling said that the Chief also has 2 officers off on light duty. Mr. Janowiak asked how the Department adjusted to those shortages. Chief Flores answered “trust me, we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul at this point.” Mr. Janowiak answered that unfortunately it happens, and he thinks that they are still at 23 officers though. The situation doesn’t change; it’s still 23 officers.

After much debate, Mr. Janowiak said to Attorney Decker, “Adam, at this point we do not want to re-check the procedure, but we do want to amend the process for emergency hire. We approved a motion about hiring off the full-time list. Do we need to delete that particular motion? It’s not been acted on. No one’s approved anybody off that list.” Attorney Decker clarified the question, “So, if I understand correctly, there was a motion at the previous meeting to hire the candidate from the current candidate list as an emergency hire?” Mr. Janowiak answered, “I think the motion was to hire the candidate if it was legal, pending your opinion.” Mr. Decker said, “As a board, you can always rescind a prior action, particularly if there’s been no reliance; if other parties have not relied on that. So you have that authority to reconsider what the board will do as far as making an emergency hire and if it wants to reconsider a prior motion, and adopt or approve a different motion, you have authority to do that.”

Chief Flores added that perhaps they need to postpone this, as he spoke with Mr. DeJong who felt the same way as himself, and as Mr. Moran did. Mr. DeJong had some very good ideas and input. Maybe they need to wait until the full board is present. Mr. Moran wanted to accept or adopt the emergency hire list, hire one person off that list, and then define what an emergency hire is going forward. Again, he wasn’t in favor of jumping a list. The Board needs to give this one to the Chief, and then define the emergency hire. There won’t be an issue in the future. Mr. Kmetz added “pursuant that the members on the list are also the physical agility and psychological.” Mr. Moran clarified that he wants to stipulate that he would like a “physical and psychological.” Mr. Paradiso wanted a physical agility. Mr. Moran responded that he can’t give them that. He wants for the applicant to see a doctor and get a clearance from both exams.

Mr. Janowiak commented again that he didn’t have a problem eliminating “this guy” on the new list. He didn’t have a problem with continuing the emergency test with some adjustments. They (the Board) brought up in February 2020 about how this process should be amended and discussed. The conversation never took place, whether it was their fault or someone else for not contacting them (the Board). Mr. Janowiak continued, “The fact is, it’s been brought up, and it’s well known, and the next they hear of it is two-and-a-half years later when someone wants to do it. That being said, whatever motion someone makes, we’ll go ahead and do. I’m just saying, I think rather than an emergency hire, I mean, I got 23 officers today and I hired a guy tomorrow. The next day, someone quits. I’m still where I’m at. This officer’s qualified. So I didn’t lose any ground that day for me. I certainly didn’t gain, but I didn’t lose any. I’m in the same boat. That’s my opinion again.”

Mr. Janowiak directed his next comment to Attorney Decker regarding “a motion to eliminate hiring anybody off the current list who would be qualified. Attorney Decker said that the Board may do as such. Mr. Moran believed that the motion was just to check on it. Mr. Kmetz read the minutes that the motion was “to establish the emergency hire list stating the process and use of it would be determined on the answer based on Attorney Decker’s legal opinion.”

Mr. Moran then made a motion, after giving it consideration, the Board will not hire off the probationary hire list. Second was made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote.

Mr. Janowiak asked if they needed a motion for changes to the emergency hire process. Attorney Decker stated that they should consider a motion to approve the emergency hire list and to hire from that list.

Mr. Moran made a motion to approve the emergency hire list pending a physical and psychological test when the list is established. Chief Flores clarified that the Department could hire off that list and then the candidate will have to pass the tests prior to being hired. Mr. Moran agreed. Mr. Janowiak asked if they wanted to approve a list that doesn’t exist yet. Mr. Moran adjusted his motion to state that it was to continue the emergency hire process. Mr. Kmetz made the second. All were in favor by voice vote.

Mr. Janowiak stated that at this point, they would be done until the discussion comes up, or they discuss whether or not this is an emergency. Mr. Moran asked if they also needed to make a motion that they are now requiring a physical and psychological test.

Mr. Janowiak stated that they now have a motion from Mr. Moran that the emergency hire process will include a physical and psychological test. Mr. Kmetz made the second. All were in favor by voice vote.

Mr. Janowiak said that the question remains what is to be done with regards to waiting until the Chief presents the request to actually hire someone as to whether or not they would do that or hire someone off the list. Attorney Decker answered that the Board has some discretion. He was not aware if there was an approval in the past before the candidate was determined. He did not know where the Department was at regarding the list either. Chief Flores said his recommendation was to go through the interviews and place them on the list in rank. If the Department decided to go with number 1, that applicant will receive a conditional offer pending their “medical and physical.” As long as the applicant passes the tests, they are good to go. Mr. Janowiak asked, “The difference between hiring off the new hire list and the emergency hire list, do we put that off until a request is made for another officer or what? Because that argument, to my knowledge, is still open.”

Attorney Decker answered, “So that leads to that again that policy question in defining what is an emergency—what isn’t an emergency; we’ve had great discussion this evening about, but that has to be ironed out and probably implemented in terms of a policy, so that moving forward—the Board, the Police Chief, everyone knows—does this qualify as an emergency or does it not, and so that, I think that has to be put off to, you know.” Mr. Janowiak added, “Hiring needs to be put off until we determine the policy on emergency hires.” Chief Flores and Attorney Decker answered “no.” Attorney Decker answered, “No, I don’t think any hiring has to be put off.” Mr. Janowiak stated that he knows that Chief is going to present his position on emergency hire, and he has his position on hiring off the full time list. How do they address it at this point? Mr. Paradiso suggested that Mr. Kmetz and Mr. Janowiak meet with the Chief since he doesn’t know how a Police Department runs like they do. The three of them should get together and come up with a policy, and then present it to the full Board. They can then adopt the policy. Mr. Janowiak agreed, however, he believed that before it happens, there will be a request to hire someone. Mr. Paradiso responded that he believed the Board was in a position where they are approving that request to hire right now. Mr. Janowiak said, “No. No we’re not.”

Mr. Moran clarified the motion that he wanted to hire somebody, and then “iron out the kinks.” He wanted to hire someone off this emergency list, and going forward, get the process defined. Chief Flores mentioned that he also has a retirement coming up, and he’s agreeing to meet with us. Mr. Kmetz also clarified that the authority was given to the Chief to select the candidate off the list as an emergency hire, and then going forward, after this officer is on the ground, then the Board meets to define an emergency hire.

Chief Flores explained to the Board the process for the upcoming hire. He would have the list ready for them at the next meeting, and ask the Board to select the number 1 applicant on the list to hire. Mr. Janowiak did not understand it that way. Mr. Moran said that they are done with the hiring list. No one from the current list would be hired unless the Department gets the money (referring to ARPA funds). Mr. Janowiak said that something should have been done two years ago. Chief Flores asked who he was referring to, and Mr. Janowiak acknowledged it was directed towards the Chief. Chief Flores commented that the emergency hire process was no secret and asked Mr. Schilling how many times the process was used. Mr. Schilling answered that it was 5 times in the past two years, and before that, it was probably 7 times. Chief Flores added that there was no need to “re-do” the process because they already had one. Mr. Janowiak stated that members of the Board disagreed with the process. Chief Flores said that it was then the Board’s job to approach him to talk about it. Further debate ensued between Mr. Janowiak and Chief Flores concerning the responsibility of the Board to present ideas for discussion.

In conclusion, it was explained that the emergency hire process would proceed. The top candidate would be recommended to the Safety Board for them to approve at the next meeting. No further motions are necessary.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Fire Department
1. New List-Hiring Process Establishment Approval
Chief LaDuke reported that, as of last meeting, he needed to have the Board approve a new hiring list process. Two candidates were left on the hire list who requested to be removed. There is no longer an active list for candidate selection as the need arises. A staff member is leaving for medical school at the end of May, therefore, the hiring process needs to begin. ARPA funds may be used for new hires with the Fire Department. A tentative timeline was submitted with a minimum of a valid EMT license. This is due to the present historical low applicant volume. The candidate could work on the ambulance and be sent to the Fire Academy. Previously, the candidates had to be an EMT and Firefighter. Now, Chief LaDuke is looking for an EMT only. Multiple departments in the area are not receiving qualified applicants.

The timeline lists advertising on April 18 with applications to follow for review. An orientation would take place on May 10, tests on May 18, and interviews between May 30 and June 3. He will aim for one day of interviews due to the low turnout of applicants elsewhere. Two Safety Board Members will be in attendance for the interviews. The list will be ready for certification on June 20. An offer would be presented to the top candidate, but if they are not in PERF, about 1 to 2 months may be required for approval.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the new hire process. Mr. Paradiso made the motion with second made by Mr. Moran. All were in favor by voice vote.

2. Officer Testing Process Approval
Chief LaDuke submitted a timeline for an Officer position. He explained that when an “officer” term is used in the Fire Department, this refers to a lieutenant, captain, or battalion chief position to fill. Since Chief’s promotion, there have been some openings. It was suggested from the Board that the lieutenant position could be requested among other open spots. This would be to establish a list and process. He would like to begin the testing and have the list certified on June 20. When an opening exists, he will approach the Board and make suggestions accordingly.

Mr. Paradiso would like to see what the testing will involve before he approves anything. Chief LaDuke stated it was in the General Orders that may have been included in the agenda packet. Mr. Paradiso stated that he did not review it. Chief LaDuke explained that this was one of the General Orders approved at the last meeting and he could share a digital copy. The Orders are also posted for the staff.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the promotional testing process. Mr. Paradiso made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Johnny Boersma, representing Mission One, announced that the K9 Unit bite suits will arrive in approximately one week. Mr. Boersma also thanked Chief Flores for allowing Officer Wartman to conduct a suicide class for police officers and firefighters. He added that the two most important town departments are police and fire. There should be no question or reason why ARPA funds should not be given to both St. John Police and Fire Departments. He added that the Town is at an emergency with the policing. Mr. Boersma explained that the values and thoughts of 20 years ago cannot be preserved with such growth; it’s a different town and not close to the same. The Police Department having 2 officers is public and it’s disgusting—the lowest in the state. It needs to change, and hiring 1 or 2 officers isn’t going to change it. There needs to be 4 or 5 more officers to minimally operate with 3 to 4 officers per shift.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Paradiso made the motion to adjourn with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote. Meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

05-16-2022 Safety Board

May 16, 2022 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called the St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order on Monday, May 16, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Steve DeJong, Board Member; Robert Kmetz, Vice President; *Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso, Board Member; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Kevin LaDuke, Fire Chief; Adam Decker, Attorney; and Joseph Wiszowaty, Town Manager. Absent: Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. A quorum was attained.

*Secretary Patrick Moran joined the meeting virtually. Roll call votes were taken pursuant to Ordinance No. 1737 for Electronic Meetings Policy.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the April 18, 2022 regular meeting. Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion. Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Abstained, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 4 to 0.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Fire Department – Chief LaDuke
For the month of April 2022, The St. John Fire Department responded to 113 EMS patient contacts. Of those patients, 80% were ALS-1, 0% were ALS-2, and 20% were BLS. The majority of transports are residents at 77% with non-residents at 23%. Most transports were sent to Franciscan Health Dyer at 57% followed closely by Franciscan Health Crown Point at 24%. The total monies generated are $90,242 with total monies received of $47,768.

Regarding fire calls, there were 156 incidents; 112 were in St. John corporate limits, 16 St. John (Dyer address), 2 in St. John (Crown Point address), and 2 in St. John (Cedar Lake address). Contracted area consisted of 7 calls and mutual aid at 17.

B. Police Department – Chief Flores
From April 1, 2022 through April 30, 2022, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 24,360 miles and responded to 517 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 25 arrests with 36 charges being filed. There were 307 traffic citations issued, along with 383 written warnings, for a total of 690 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $0, other thefts totaled $39,868, and recovered property totaled $0. Regarding the thefts, a majority of the value was due to bank account and debit card fraud.
POLICE DEPARTMENT PROMOTIONAL PROCESS:
Chief Flores reported that the Department recently completed the promotional process for Corporal and Sergeant Positions. Two lists have been established that need to be approved.
A. Certify Corporal Promotion List
Officer Jacobs and Officer Wortsman are listed respectively. These are the only two officers on the Corporal List. The established List is set to expire May 16, 2024 at 12:00 a.m., however, the list will be exhausted after this meeting since only two officers are listed.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to certify the Corporal Eligibility List. Mr. Paradiso made the motion with second made by Mr. DeJong. Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Aye, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 5 to 0.

B. Certify Sergeant Promotion List
Corporal Rybicki, Corporal Lukasik, and Corporal Zuzich are listed respectively. Posting is May 16, 2022. The established List is set to expire May 16, 2024 at 12:00 a.m.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to certify the Sergeant Eligibility List. Mr. DeJong made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Aye, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 5 to 0.

C. Approve Promotions

1. Sergeants
Chief Flores announced that he was seeking approval to promote Corporals Rybicki and Lukasik to the rank of Sergeant. Corporal Zuzich will remain on the List that is valid until May 16, 2024 at 12:00 a.m.

Mr. Rybicki was promoted to Corporal in 2017 and Mr. Lukasik was promoted to Corporal in 2018. Both gentlemen have done a tremendous job in their supervisory roles. Chief Flores has the utmost respect and confidence that both men will take the Department into the future successfully.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to promote Mr. Rybicki and Mr. Lukasik from the rank of Corporal to Sergeant. Mr. Paradiso made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Aye, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 5 to 0.

2. Corporals
Chief Flores announced that he was seeking approval to promote Officers Jacobs and Wortsman to the rank of Corporal. The List would have been valid for two years, although it expires this evening due to both Officers being promoted.

Chief Flores added that both Officers have military experience and their work is impeccable. He has full confidence and faith in their supervisory capabilities.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to promote Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Wortsman from the rank of Officer to Corporal. Mr. Moran made the motion with second made by Mr. Paradiso. Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Aye, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 5 to 0.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Fire Department
1. New Hire Update
Chief LaDuke reported that the Department continues to wait for PERF approval. There was a missing piece of medical information, but they will call for status. Chief LaDuke anticipates the new candidate will begin this Sunday. If not then, it will be the next pay period in two weeks. The candidate will be set for the National Registry concerning Paramedics also.
2. New Hire Process Update
Chief LaDuke reported that the List was exhausted as of last meeting discussion. There were 18 applications received. There were 2 applicants who did not qualify due to PERF requirement age, 2 applicants did not qualify due to missing the orientation, and 2 more did not qualify because they were late for the orientation. There will be 12 applicants moving forward to the exam phase on May 18 at 5:00 p.m. The applicants with 70% or greater will move forward to the next phase. June 1 will be the officer interviews, and June 2 will be admin interviews. Mr. Paradiso has confirmed his attendance. The List certification will take place at the Safety Board meeting on June 20.
3. Promotional Process Update
Chief LaDuke reported that 1 application was received for Battalion Chief, 3 applications for Lieutenant, and 2 applications for POC/LT. The exam is set for May 31 at 3:00 p.m. Interviews will be conducted on June 13.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Police Department
1. Approval to Establish 2-Year Eligibility List for Corporal
As mentioned previously, Chief Flores requested approval to establish a new List for Corporal promotions. The List approved this evening is hereby exhausted. The qualifications are a First Class Patrol Officer rank with 2 years at the St. John Police Department.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve establishment of a new Corporal Eligibility List. Mr. DeJong made the motion with second made by Mr. Paradiso. Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Aye, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 5 to 0.

2. Approval of Lateral/Emergency Hire Policy Amendment
Chief Flores reported that he met with Mr. Janowiak and Mr. Moran regarding the definition of the Emergency Hire process. Chief requested approval to amend General Orders 4.01-4.04 Defining Emergency Hire Procedures.

Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the amendment so the Town Council can adopt it. Attorney Decker confirmed that the Safety Board has the authority to approve the Resolution before them. Mr. Paradiso amended his motion to approve the Resolution (Resolution No. 2022-05-16 entitled “A Resolution of the Safety Board of the Town of St. John, Lake County, Indiana, Approving an Amendment to the St. John Police Department General Order 4.01-4.04). Mr. Kmetz made the second.

Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Aye, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 5 to 0.

3. Approval to Certify 2-Year Lateral/Emergency Hire List
Chief Flores stated that 14 interviews were conducted. Two Board Members participated in an interview to see the process at hand. The List of candidates are ranked #1 through #7. Their names were excluded so identities would not be released. Rather, they were listed by application number. The List would be valid for 2 years once certified.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to certify the Lateral (Emergency) Hire Eligibility List. Mr. Moran made the motion with second made by Mr. DeJong. Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Aye, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 5 to 0.

4. Approve Conditional Officer to Lateral/Emergency Hire Candidate
Chief Flores requested approval to present a Conditional Offer of Employment to Applicant #10 being candidate #1 on the certified Lateral (Emergency) Hire Eligibility List. The psychological exam has been completed, and the physical exam is in progress. This approval would be pending the results of the testing.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the lateral hire candidate #1 on the List pending the results of the tests. Mr. Kmetz made the motion with second made by Mr. Paradiso. Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Aye, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 5 to 0.

5. Police-Directed Towing Services; Advertise & Accept Proposals
Chief Flores stated that the towing service proposals are due this year. The draft advertisement was forwarded to the Safety Board and will be posted accordingly. The applications will be due June 16 by 4:00 p.m. The contract would also go from 1 year to 2 years as discussed previously. Contractors will also be informed concerning incomplete applications.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the advertising for the towing services. Mr. DeJong made the motion including the stipulation of the contract being for 2 years. Second was made by Mr. Kmetz. Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Aye, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 5 to 0.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Paradiso made the motion to adjourn with second made by Mr. DeJong. Roll cate vote was taken: Mr. DeJong – Aye, Mr. Paradiso – Aye, Mr. Moran – Aye, Mr. Kmetz – Aye, and Mr. Janowiak – Aye. Motion passed 5 to 0. Meeting adjourned at 6:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

06-21-2022 Safety Board

June 21, 2022 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called the St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at 7:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Robert Kmetz, Vice President; Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso, Board Member; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Kevin LaDuke, Fire Chief; Adam Decker, Attorney; Joseph Wiszowaty, Town Manager; and Katie Szczepanski; Chief Deputy Clerk. Absent: Steve DeJong, Board Member; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the May 16, 2022 regular meeting. Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion. All were in favor by voice vote.

OATHS OF OFFICE:

Fire Officer J. Deyarmin, Badge 28, and Police Officer P. Fabian, Unit 38, and were provided their Oaths of Office by the Chief Deputy Clerk.

POLICE-DIRECTED TOWING SERVICES – OPENING & REVIEW OF PROPOSALS:

Chief Flores reported that the notification to accept proposals for the 2022 Police-Directed Towing Services was published one (1) time on May 20, 2022 in the NWI Times and Post Tribune. For this proposal, Chief Flores recommended an increase to the Light Duty Rate from $125 to $185. This is a comparable rate that is charged by the towing firms. He also explained that the publication included the stipulation to extend contracts for two (2) years.

The two (2) firms that picked up proposal packets, and returned them within the allotted time, were Stan’s Towing and Kubiak’s Service. No other proposals were picked up. Chief Flores opened both packets, and they appeared to be in order. Attorney Decker was handed the packets for legal review and will report on status.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Fire Department – Chief LaDuke
For the month of May 2022, The St. John Fire Department responded to 113 EMS patient contacts. Of those patients, 87% were ALS-1, 0% were ALS-2, and 13% were BLS. The majority of transports are residents at 72% with non-residents at 28%. Most transports were sent to Franciscan Health Dyer at 48% followed closely by Franciscan Health Crown Point at 35%. The total monies generated are $92,290 with total monies received of $55,258.

Regarding fire calls, there were 162 incidents; 124 were in St. John corporate limits, 11 St. John (Dyer address), 5 in St. John (Crown Point address), and 1 in St. John (Cedar Lake address). Contracted area consisted of 12 calls and mutual aid at 9.

B. Police Department – Chief Flores
From May 1, 2022 through May 31, 2022, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 22,392 miles and responded to 610 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 28 arrests with 42 charges being filed. There were 324 traffic citations issued, along with 329 written warnings, for a total of 653 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $0, other thefts totaled $12,117, and recovered property totaled $0. Regarding the thefts, $8,500 was related to a ruse burglary. Other thefts concerned currency, electronics, and building materials. Chief Flores also reported that there are more traffic complaints arising due to the summer months. Temporary speed signs and a radar trailer are being utilized and moved to various locations to assist in monitoring traffic. Traffic patrols have increased as time permits.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Fire Department
1. New Hire – Last Hire from 2021/2022 List
Chief LaDuke reported that Officer Deyarmin was the final candidate on the New Hire List.
2. New Hire Process Complete – Approval of List for 2 Years
The New Hire List is considered exhausted after hiring Officer Deyarmin. The new process is complete for establishing an eligibility list. Approval is needed from the Safety Board. Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the new hire list. Mr. Moran made the motion with second made by Mr. Paradiso. All were in favor by voice vote.
3. Promotional Process Complete – Approval of List; Exhausted Immediately
Chief LaDuke reported that two (2) candidates went through the process. After they are promoted, the list will be exhausted and the promotional list will need to be re-established.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the promotional list. Mr. Paradiso made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Fire Department
1. New Hire List Approval
Chief LaDuke reported that Niko Vukovic will be leaving on June 28 for IU Medical School. He requested that Candidate #14, having received the first position, be approved to replace him.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to extend a conditional offer of employment to Candidate #14; Frank Pukoszek. Mr. Moran made the motion with second made by Mr. Paradiso. All were in favor by voice vote.

2. Promotion of Officer Haney
Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to promote Officer M. Haney to Lieutenant. Mr. Paradiso made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote. Lt. Haney received his badge from Chief LaDuke.
3. Promotion of Officer Clifford
Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to promote Officer S. Clifford to Lieutenant. Mr. Kmetz made the motion with second made by Mr. Paradiso. All were in favor by voice vote. Lt. Clifford received his badge from Chief LaDuke.
4. Proceed with New Promotion List – Opening for Captain, Battalion Chief, and Lieutenant
Chief LaDuke reported that this promotional list was the first time they conducted a testing process, which worked well for the Department. Candidates needed a passing score of 75 to move forward. According to General Orders, a list is required in case of a departure from staff. The promotions of Lt. Haney and Lt. Clifford have exhausted the list. Positions are open for a Captain, a Battalion Chief, and a Lieutenant. He plans to allow the candidates to begin studying. Testing could be scheduled for September.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve establishing a new promotional list. Mr. Paradiso made the motion with second made by Mr. Moran. All were in favor by voice vote.

5. Ambulance Purchase Favorable Recommendation for Town Council Meeting in July
Chief LaDuke reported that due to the current climate, it is taking an ambulance fabricator 550 days before the Fire Department will acquire it. It is not in the 2022 budget, however, it would be planned for 2024 according to the 5-year plan. In 2024, the Town will have exactly the amount needed to purchase outright. That would be a decision for the Town Council concerning leasing options to preserve the budget for other expenditures, or to pay for it outright.

Bids were received from four (4) companies concerning a Ford F-550 with 4x4 like the current ambulance that was built in 2019. Prices include the power load system from Stryker so all ambulances have a system to help load the cot. This feature reduces back injuries. A system was installed in the current ambulance, and it was discovered that if the installation is not done at the factory, issues can arise with servicing. A total of five (5) companies were solicited with four (4) responding. The companies are as follows:

  1. Osage Industries
  2. Horton Emergency Vehicles
  3. Road Rescue Emergency Vehicles
    Local dealer is Fire Service of St. John
  4. PL Custom Emergency Vehicles

A quote for a Stryker cot was also included. Price increases are expected if the decision by the Town is delayed, therefore, Chief LaDuke requested a recommendation so the Town Council could have the information by July, or August at the latest to secure the prices. This could save up to $50,000. The Fire Department would be replacing a 2009, but the Chief did not believe that replacing both the 2009 and 2010 models made good fiscal sense. These ambulances were demo models that were needed, but the boxes are not what they would normally use as the services were expanding. The 2009 box is in worse shape. The bid specs were done with the idea that the box would be re-mounted.

Chief LaDuke explained that basically the ambulance is a truck with a big box attached. The box houses the EMS team attending to the patient. The box would be re-mounted and re-affixed to another chassis down the road. The Fire Department did not have much input in the past. This time, they formed a committee consisting of a Battalion Chief and the EMS Director for buy in by the entire Department. This new ambulance would be built for present and future needs.

Chief LaDuke continued by stating that the Osage ambulance bid is what the committee recommends. The rundown of pricing and features are as follows.

  1. Osage base price bid was announced at $296,083. They offer upgrades not offered by other bidders. This fact still places the Osage ambulance at a fair market value. The upgrades are black wheels and black bumpers. This recommended feature is due to Town’s water quality that causes spotting on the chrome components. Roll-up doors and air purification cleaners bring the total of this ambulance to $310,054.
  2. Horton price bid was announced at $302,371.
  3. Road Rescue price bid was announced at $330,000. This price just increased by 7%. The Department currently has Road Rescue, and it is from the local dealer in Town. Rigs are still serviced at the local dealer (Fire Service).
    As much as the Department would like to purchase in Town, the ambulance does not meet the needs of the Department as discussed. He added that Fire Service was one of the best dealers to work with, but their price is much higher. This vendor will continue to service the ambulances including the new model. Each company that bid said they would do onsite servicing, but if they cannot fix it onsite, Fire Service would receive the work.
  4. PL Custom price bid was announced at $363,030.

Chief LaDuke reiterated that each ambulance is about 550 days out. He had conceptual drawings in hand for the Safety Board to review. Each bid would require an additional $27,000 for the Stryker cot to encompass the recommended package. Mr. Janowiak asked which ambulance was preferred. Chief LaDuke explained that the Osage ambulance is preferred due to the air purification and UV light in the box. He mentioned the roll-up doors for outside the ambulance. This adds a safety measure due to the speed in which they must work and drive at times, and situating a patient for emergency treatment and transport. These upgrades would cost more with the other ambulances. The Osage ambulance meets their needs fiscally and mechanically.

Again, it was explained that the Department would like to keep the business local, however, the cost is considerably more for the base ambulance, not including the additions as mentioned for the Osage ambulance. All the ambulances are Ford F-550 with 4x4 and diesel engines, which is consistent with the existing rigs. If the decision is prolonged, the increase in price would be 7% to 10%. He is asking for a recommendation that can be taken to the Town Council at their next available meeting.

Regarding the repairs, Fire Service would continue to get business for large repairs. Warranty work would go to Missouri for the Osage ambulance concerning the box while Ford would service the chassis. A loaner ambulance would be provided if the rig needs to go to the Missouri facility. As the Town grows, the ambulance service becomes busier so back-up rigs are essential. It is better to have a fourth rig in reserve. Osage would come to our location to exchange the ambulance with a loaner while they take the new model to their facility for warranty repairs.

Mr. Janowiak then asked for a motion to recommend the Osage ambulance for the Fire Department. Mr. Kmetz made the motion with second made by Mr. Moran. All were in favor by voice vote.

B. Police Department
1. Resolution 2022-06-21 – A Resolution Amending the Towing Guidelines for the Town of St. John and Increasing the “Not to Exceed” Amount Assessed for Towing Services
Chief Flores reported that he is asking for a favorable recommendation from the Safety Board to increase the light duty rate from $125 to $185 (not to exceed), and to increase the towing contract form one (1) to two (2) years. Adam Decker explained that Ordinance No. 1699 or state code provided no clear direction on whether or not the Town Council must approve the rate increase. The Town Council ultimately establishes fees, therefore, he recommends that the Safety Board recommend this to the Council.

Attorney Decker added that his opinion for the contractual term is to have the Safety Board recommend, and then approved by the Town Council. When the Town had the Police Commission, which was disbanded by Ordinance No. 1699, there was a provision that suggested the Police Chief meet with the towing service providers on an annual basis to review services and fees. Furthermore, he believes that the Police Chief, the Safety Board, and the Town Council has the discretion to allow the review to occur for one (1) year or two (2) years. This could be done on a biannual basis for the purpose of accepting bids as well. He is less concerned about the contractual term, but the Town Council should be aware of the activities taking place and for consideration.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to have the light duty rate increased from $125 to $185. Mr. Moran made the motion to recommend the Chief’s increase to $185. Mr. Kmetz made the second. All were in favor by voice vote. There is no public hearing required per Attorney Decker.

Mr. Janowiak then entertained a motion to have the contract valid from one (1) year to two (2) years; a recommendation to the Town Council. Mr. Kmetz made the motion with second made by Mr. Moran. All were in favor by voice vote.

2. Approval to Proceed with Replacing Upcoming Retirement as of July 8, 2022
Chief Flores reported that Officer Sidenbender will be retiring as of July 8. He has served the St. John Police Department for over twenty years. He would like to move forward with a replacement to reduce the time that the Department is down an officer. The next candidate on the lateral hire list is Officer J. Stickle from Cedar Lake PD. Chief intends to provide the offer of employment after the passing of the physical exam and psychological evaluation, and upon the retirement of Officer Sidenbender.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to replace Officer Sidenbender as described. Mr. Moran made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote.

3. South County Crash Team MOU Discussion; Favorable Recommendation Needed
Chief Flores explained that the Department is working on establishing a crash team for South Lake County law enforcement agencies. The team would investigate serious injury accidents or fatal accidents. This has been in the planning stages for several months with Schererville, Dyer, Cedar Lake, Lowell, and Crown Point departments. Currently, these departments rely on the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, but they are busy with their own crashes. An email was received last week that they would not be able to assist due to this reason. Officer Shaffer, from St. John PD, has been certified in crash reconstruction. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was forwarded to the Safety Board for review. Each agency is supposed to present it to their Councils. Dyer was approved last night, and the other agencies are looking forward to their Councils moving forward as well.

Each department would have one or two officers assigned to the team. They need reconstruction training in the form of crash I or II, or drone certification. The drone pilot takes pictures of the crash scene. The pictures are forwarded to Purdue for a 3D drawing rendering. There have been nearly ten accidents where this team could have been used in one of the agency jurisdictions. Chief Flores is looking for a favorable recommendation to take to the Town Council for signatures. The team would file charges, if needed, much like the regional major crimes task force. The callouts would be based on availability.

Crown Point has officers that are crash II certified. If one officer cannot go to the scene, others would be available. The Lake County Sheriff’s Department, or Indiana State Police, would investigate if an officer was involved in the crash. St. John has a drone as do some other agencies. The Crown Point mayor and police chief have provided their Emergency Management Agency (EMA) staff and equipment for traffic control. Costs would occur as Officer Shaffer needs an iPad to document the scene. At this time, every agency has a piece of equipment to get it started. Long-term goals would be to establish an annual fee for cost sharing.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to forward a favorable recommendation to join the South County Crash Reconstruction Team. Mr. Moran made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Paradiso made the motion to adjourn with second made by Mr. Moran. All were in favor by voice vote. Meeting adjourned at 7:57 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

07-18-2022 Safety Board

July 18, 2022 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Kmetz called the St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order on Monday, July 18, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Robert Kmetz, Vice President; Patrick Moran, Secretary; and Raymond Paradiso, Board Member. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Kevin LaDuke, Fire Chief; Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison; Adam Decker, Attorney; Joseph Wiszowaty, Town Manager; and Katie Szczepanski; Chief Deputy Clerk. Absent: Steve DeJong, Board Member. A quorum was attained.

SAFETY BOARD VACANCY:

Mr. Janowiak resigned from the St. John Safety Board as of June 30, 2022. There is a vacancy on the Board that expires on December 31, 2022. Mr. Janowiak served as President, therefore, the Board can appoint a member to this position. Mr. Paradiso nominated Patrick Moran for President. Mr. Kmetz made the second. All were in favor by voice vote.

Attorney Decker advised that it would be prudent to nominate a Secretary. Mr. Moran served in this capacity with the Board prior to his presidency approval. Mr. Kmetz called for a motion to nominate a Secretary. Mr. Moran moved to nominate Mr. Paradiso. Mr. Kmetz made the second. All were in favor by voice vote. Mr. Kmetz thanked Richard Janowiak for his years of service to the St. John Safety Board.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Moran entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the June 21, 2022 regular meeting. Mr. Kmetz made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Paradiso seconded the motion. All were in favor by voice vote.

OATHS OF OFFICE:

Chief Flores stated that Officer Sidenbender retired after serving 25 years with the St. John Police Department as of July 9, 2022. The Safety Board gave approval to fill the vacancy with a lateral hire. Officer J. Stickle passed the required testing, and Chief Flores requested to approve his hire to be sworn in. Officer Stickle has 5 years of experience with the Cedar Lake Police Department.

Mr. Moran called for a motion to hire Officer Stickle. Mr. Kmetz made the motion to do so and Mr. Paradiso made the second. All were in favor by voice vote. Chief Deputy Szczepanski performed the Oath of Office to Officer Stickle.

Chief LaDuke reported that last month the Safety Board approved the hire of Officer F. Pukoszek. Officer Pukoszek worked at Hobart Fire Department for 10 years as a Firefighter/Paramedic. He assisted July 3 during the Freedom Fest and began his first shift on July 4. Chief Deputy Szczepanski performed the Oath of Office to Officer Pukoszek.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Fire Department – Chief LaDuke
For the month of June 2022, The St. John Fire Department responded to 126 EMS patient contacts. Of those patients, 76% were ALS-1, 2% were ALS-2, and 22% were BLS. The majority of transports are residents at 77% with non-residents at 23%. Most transports were sent to Franciscan Health Dyer at 42% followed closely by Franciscan Health Crown Point at 35%. The total monies generated are $107,944 with total monies received of $64,807.

Regarding fire calls, there were 177 incidents; 135 were in St. John corporate limits, 16 St. John (Dyer address), 3 in St. John (Crown Point address), and 2 in St. John (Cedar Lake address). Contracted area consisted of 7 calls and mutual aid at 14.

B. Police Department – Chief Flores
From June 1, 2022 through June 30, 2022, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 22,522 miles and responded to 568 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 24 arrests with 36 charges being filed. There were 225 traffic citations issued, along with 308 written warnings, for a total of 533 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $0, other thefts totaled $3,335, and recovered property totaled $1,475.

Chief Flores added that the South County Crash Reconstruction Team is waiting for one other town to approve the agreement. All the other communities involved have signed the agreement. The Team has the necessary equipment to begin their duties.

Also, Chief Flores has been working on an initiative with law enforcement agencies throughout Lake County. This matter concerns addressing the response to mass shootings taking place across the country. The agencies are creating a crisis intervention team encompassing law enforcement and mental health professionals. The team would be on call 24/7. When an officer responds to a scene concerning a mental health crisis, the officer can enter data into a computer, and then send this to an assigned mental health professional. The professional will contact the patient to get them the help that is needed. If there is a refusal, or the situation escalates, other avenues will be taken for a resolution. Repetitive offenders may be addressed with assistance from the FBI. Typically, “red flags” are evidenced as they tend to appear on social media.

Last week, Chief Flores met with the Indiana Lt. Governor, a State Representative in charge of the Public Safety Committee, and the Director of Homeland Security in charge of security for the Department of Education. Plans were presented at this meeting and it is gaining momentum. Chief Flores will present this topic at the Chiefs’ Conference later this month. It is anticipated that the counties of Lake, Porter, Jasper, Newton, and LaPorte will implement the program by year end. The crisis intervention team will be used as a pilot program for the rest of the state as well.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Police Department
1. Police-Directed Towing Service Recommendation
Chief Flores reported that the opening and review of the proposals took place last month. The proposals submitted were from Stan’s Towing and Kubiak’s Service. He is seeking a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for both entities with a 2-year contract.

Mr. Moran entertained a motion for a favorable recommendation to the Town Council. Mr. Paradiso moved to send the favorable recommendation to the Town Council for Stan’s and Kubiak’s. Mr. Kmetz made the second. All were in favor by voice vote. Chief Flores asked the Safety Board if they wanted to include the 2-year contract. Mr. Moran clarified the motion for Stan’s and Kubiak’s for 2 years. Mr. Paradiso moved to approve as clarified and Mr. Kmetz made the second. All were in favor by voice vote.

NEW BUSINESS:

Chief LaDuke wanted to report that Probationary Firefighter/EMT J. Deyarmin has successfully completed his national registry. Chief would like to move him to Probationary Firefighter/Paramedic and requested the Board’s advice regarding the need for a vote as this is just a change of class. Mr. Paradiso did not see the need for a vote from the Safety Board since this was a passing of certification to move into Paramedic status.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Moran called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Kmetz made the motion to adjourn with second made by Mr. Paradiso. All were in favor by voice vote. Meeting adjourned at 6:26 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

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