Paris honors retiring officers

BY GARY HENRY Special to The Prairie Press
Posted 7/19/21

The Paris City Council took time Monday, July 12, to honor three men who have devoted a significant part of their lives to public service.

Police Chief Eric Brown, Police Sgt. Kevin Ring and …

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Paris honors retiring officers


The Paris City Council took time Monday, July 12, to honor three men who have devoted a significant part of their lives to public service.

Police Chief Eric Brown, Police Sgt. Kevin Ring and Police Sgt. Roger Finley were all presented with special resolutions upon their retirements. The three men have a combined service of 85 years to the police department. Ring has the longest time in service with 35 years. Finley was next with 30, and Brown had 20 years.

“We appreciate all you have done for the city,” Mayor Craig Smith told the departing officers.

The retirement letter of Fire Chief Brian Gates was accepted by the council. Gates has worked for the fire department for 28 years and his retirement is effective July 30.

“We have been fortunate to have him,” said commissioner Drew Griffin. “He has done a great job managing the department.”

At a previous meeting, the council promoted Fire Captain Chad Crampton to assistant/interim chief to begin a transition period before Gates leaves. This opened a captain’s position and the council appointed Firefighter Mentor Reynolds to captain during Monday’s meeting.

Reynold’s appointment is effective immediately.

The recent turnover in both the police and fire departments prompted the council to authorize the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners to test for new eligibility lists to start filling vacancies.

During the public comment section, Randall Jones asked the city to consider building multi-use trails south of the city that might connect west with Preston Road and east with the Lower Terre Haute Road.

“There are a lot of people who ride bikes on the Lower T,” said Jones.

He also suggested lighting the trails would make it possible to bicycle commute to the factories on the southside of town.

“We continue looking for grants to do this, but we haven’t gotten any,” said Smith. “I think it’s a great idea.”

The city grew a little bit when the council accepted Robin Trapp’s request to annex the property at 1249 North Main Street. This is the site of the former Illiana Tire and before that Parkway Furniture. Trapp is developing the site as the new home for her Betty Jane’s Kitchen business.

An agreement for future annexation with Cash Farms, 10749 Indian Boundary Street, was approved. The property is not coming into the city immediately, but the owners have agreed to annexation if that option becomes available in the future in return for tapping into the new water main running north to the Horace-Brocton Road.

Following the meeting, Smith explained Cash Farms, like Ken and Paige Brooks’ Pa-Pa’s Produce Patch on state Route 1, cannot be annexed at this time because there are intervening properties between their locations and the city that are outside the city limits. Annexation must be contiguous. It cannot leapfrog parcels. The produce patch previously entered an agreement to annex in, if the opportunity arises, in return for accessing the water line.

A police department request for $31,482 to purchase body cameras was approved.

The council created a new job of Water Accountability Manager with an annual salary of $55,780. John Kaufman was appointed to the position.

Commissioner Paul Ruff said the new position is warranted.

“With all of the new customers we are going to have to the north and problems we have with the existing system, we need somebody to focus on the meters,” said Ruff, adding the current city employees in the water and sewer department already have their hands full.

Kaufman’s main duties will be meter reading, installing and servicing meters, working with the city’s billing department and accounting for water system loss.

“Our system is just not functioning like it’s supposed to,” said Ruff.

He said it is time to start replacing older water meters and going in a new direction with meter management.

“I think this is something (the new position) that has been coming for a while,” Ruff