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  • Kent Casson

Police policy proposal presented to council

Police Chief Travis Cornwall explains police policy & procedures to members of the Chenoa City Council.

Police Chief Travis Cornwall appeared before members of the Chenoa City Council Tuesday evening to discuss police policy manuals.

The chief said LexiPol is a company that does police and fire department policy procedures. They would help with updating the policy manual and offer trainings for officers. This mobile-friendly technology would allow the Chenoa Police Department to stay up to date with state and federal law changes along with case law.

This lowers civic and criminal liability.

“They’d be up to date with the most accurate policies,” Cornwall explained.

Any officer can pull up a policy on their laptop or cell phone as this works anywhere they have access to the Internet. Two-minute training exercises are presented then the officers answer questions to make sure they understand everything.

“That will make sure they’re up to date on policies as we go along,” added Cornwall.

LexiPol is often considered “top of the crop” in law enforcement circles and Cornwall noted the insurance company recommends it. Both El Paso and Farmer City currently have this.

In summary, this plan would protect the police department on the policy side of things and would not be effective until the next year’s budget. The first year cost is over $10,000 and includes a complete revamp and implementation of the current department manual. The continued subscription is $3,500 each year thereafter.

“This puts us in the best position policy-wise.”

The second presentation of the evening was on a therapy dog funding proposal from Prairie Central High School teachers Kim Hasty and Amanda Williams. Both run the ACES program at the school for students with special needs. They are looking to add a therapy dog to the classroom.

After receiving approval from the school district, the fundraising process is underway. Cost for the full-time therapy dog will be completely covered outside of the school.

“We want this dog to be able to come in and sit with the students,” noted Hasty.

Therapy dogs tend to benefit kids with physical and emotional disabilities. Dogs can help students with Autism, who often feel overwhelmed in a school setting.

“Most of us are used to a service dog, where a therapy dog is trained to perform a task for an entire group,” explained Williams.

A Goldendoodle named Ace has been donated to the program by Atkins Acres Doodle Ranch of rural Chenoa. It will take about a year to get the dog fully trained and certified but it does have three rounds of shots already taken care of.

“The dog will not come into the program until it’s fully certified,” stated Hasty.

The estimated cost of the dog the first year is $4,000 and around $1000-$1500 each year after that. Ace will live with Hasty as she will be in charge of transporting it to and from school. The goal is to have the dog in the classroom by next January.

“Their creativity and what they do for these kids is absolutely extraordinary,” observed Commissioner Jay Myers.

Dwayne Price said the Chenoa VFW would be interested in helping out and Mayor Chris Wilder noted a donation is possible from the city as the Silliman Trust account is available.

An update on Route 66 happenings was given by local resident Sarah Michaels. She passed out information on the upcoming Red Carpet Corridor in May and said major national attention is coming to Route 66.

“We need to take this very seriously as an opportunity,” said Michaels.

Chenoa is considered to be in the first 100 miles of the “Mother Road.”That 100 miles stretches from Chicago to Bloomington-Normal.

Michaels is working with Melissa Cooper for a reboot of the Chenoa Shop-n-Go during Red Carpet weekend May 6-7 to be known as the “Superior Shopping Event.” This will be held uptown rather than at the park.

She also mentioned a classic car show will stop in town this June for about 30 minutes and Michaels would like to give them lunch sacks rubber stamped with Chenoa and Route 66 logos.

Resident David Shane asked if anyone contacted the person who wants to put an apartment in the commercial area on the west side of town to say the city has other places available.

“I don’t want to put a bad taste in his mouth,” admitted Shane.

Wilder said when he spoke to the gentleman about a year ago, he provided the name of several owners of property near Dollar General and the old school ground.

“I just don’t want to make him mad because we said no,” added Shane.

“I think some of that will be addressed,” stated City Attorney Steve Mann.

Wilder said this person already owns the apartment buildings on Second Street and does a good job maintaining them.

In a separate matter, Mann reported the number of contracts for fiber optic work is starting to get active in town. He suggested the city consider minimum insurance requirements.

“We’ll probably be seeing more and more of this in the days to come,” explained Mann.

Streets Commissioner Price revealed the department hopes to start working on potholes in streets and alleys. Roads will get spray patched when the nicer weather comes.

At the start of the meeting, regular meeting minutes were approved from Feb. 14 and the council voted that bills be allowed.

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