New Richmond approves safety officer position

Officer Donnie Haun
The Village of New Richmond Council has approved the position of “Public Safety Officer” and described it as a pilot program for the Village in the council meeting held on April 8, 2014.

The position is a collaborative effort between Police Chief Randy Harvey and the Fire/EMS Chief Vince Bee.

Officer Donnie Haun was assigned to the position during the evaluation period.

Officer Haun, already a part-time employee for the village as a firefighter and licensed paramedic, will now take on the role of police officer as well.

Officer Haun possessed a certification as an Ohio Peace Officer but allowed it to lapse. He is currently in the process of bringing his police officer’s certification back into good standing to meet the standards of the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy while receiving his field training with the New Richmond Police Department.

Once completed, the plan calls for Officer Haun to act in the capacity as police officer until such a time that a fire call or ambulance run comes in, he then will respond directly to the scene in the police cruiser that is equipped with his fire gear and lifesaving medical supplies.

Chief Harvey and Chief Bee met several times in the past few months working out the logistical issues surrounding the trinity position, but feel that it is a worthwhile adventure to explore.

“It is a fine example of just how well our Police Department and Fire/EMS Departments pull together to get the job done and save the Village money,” Mayor Ramona Carr said.

The part-time salary for Officer Haun is split equally between the Police Department and the Fire/EMS Department.

“Cross training police and fire is not a new concept, however, we may be the only one around utilizing the person in those roles simultaneously,” Chief Harvey said.

Chief Harvey said that Officer Haun will always be scheduled as a secondary police unit on duty, which will allow him to hand off police matters to the primary car in order to respond to fire or emergency medical calls if needed.

Chief Bee sees this as an improved way of serving the citizens.

“It allows me to have two paramedics on duty in the village,” he said. “When the life squad is on an emergency run, we have to rely on mutual aid from another jurisdiction; this way I still have a paramedic in town that can respond; the minutes saved may just save a life.”

Officer Haun views this as a way of maximizing his credentials.

“The thought of being in a policeman’s uniform and administrating lifesaving drugs is a unique and exciting opportunity.”

Chief Harvey and Chief Bee will evaluate the program over time to determine its impact.

“It’s not that we plan to cross train all our emergency personnel, we just happen to have a qualified person, so why not utilize his skills?” Mayor Carr said.