Unless they’re on the wrong side of the law, not too many people get an inside view of Grove City Borough Police Department.

Members of the borough council police and fire committee were able to do just that on Jan. 27, exploring the facilities and equipment that police officers utilize to keep the borough safe.

The tour, led by police chief Dean Osborne, began in the officer training and meeting room.

“Any training we sponsor, we have in here,” Osborne said.

According to the chief, training sessions include firearm, taser and mace certifications, as well as standard field sobriety test qualification.

Officers must also pass annual CPR/defibrillation/first aid certification each year, which are administered by Doug Dick of Superior Ambulance, Osborne added. Police officers most recently completed the training last week, he said.

“We have a lot of certifications that we have to get,” Osborne said. “It’s very difficult to get 11 officers through a class since we are not all here at one time, but we manage.”

Mayor Randy Riddle also noted that quarterly safety committee meetings are held in the training room.

The group also toured the basement of the department, which, probably to the surprise of many community members, includes a shooting range.

The range, 17 yards long, provides a practice area for police officers, who can use the area to shoot tasers as well, Osborne said.

Officers could also perform their firearm certifications in the range as well, but ventilation issues in the basement prevent that, according to council vice president Jeff Black.

“The first officer could (use the range to) qualify, and there wouldn’t necessarily be a problem,” Black explained. “But it’s the guy after that and the guy after that. The ventilation is not set up to suck the air out appropriate (to that much testing).”

According to Black, officers must shoot a certain number of bullets to pass the certification, and the ventilation system does not filter out smoke that quickly. He said that the shooting range does provide for a nice practice area for officers, however, adding that renovations could be made in the future to improve the ventilation system.

“Having a functioning shooting range is a great thing,” Black said.

The group also toured the process room, where fingerprinting and photographing takes place.

“Everyone who gets arrested comes here first,” Osborne said. “However, if someone is very intoxicated or very much out of hand, we do not print them. We get a court order for them to come back to us, which far outweighs someone getting hurt in the process.”

According to Osborne, the police department performs many fingerprinting services for Grove City businesses and organizations.

“We get a lot of requests from Grove City College students who are pursuing teaching,” he said. “More and more now, we get a lot of requests for criminal background checks.”

Osborne added that the department also offers free fingerprints for parents of kindergarten students in Grove City Area School District, a program that has been implemented for many years now.

According to Osborne, fingerprint services are free of charge for anyone in the borough. Anyone outside the municipality must pay $25 for the service.

Across from the processing room are two holding cells to temporarily house criminals. If anyone is in the cells, Osborne said officers are required to check in on them every 15 minutes.

Osborne noted that a gun locker is located outside the processing room and cells. Officers are not allowed to bring their weapons into either of the rooms for safety reasons.

The police department also features a locker room and evidence room, although Osborne said both are in need of improvements.

The officer locker room, for example, has lockers that are too small to accommodate all the officers’ equipment, Osborne said.

“When these lockers were put in, we had half the equipment we use now,” he explained. “The guys carry a lot of weight, which probably includes more than 20 pounds on their belts alone.”

Osborne also said the department evidence room, not very big to begin with, is packed.

“We are going to need additional room at some point in the future,” he said, adding that the department also needs a larger police-issue refrigerator. “It’s probably going to be very pricey.”

Not everything in the department needs improvement, however, as a recently purchased gun safe has been a “great investment for the department,” according to Osborne.

Housed in the equipment room, the large, keycode-guarded safe stores the extra handguns, shotguns, assault rifles and ammunition of Grove City Borough Police Department.

“Before this, we just had a cabinet with a lock,” Osborne said. “This was a great deal for the department.”

The group also toured the department’s observation/interview room, which is connected to another room through two-way glass.

“We can use the room to monitor people, and we can also do lineups of people,” Osborne said. The two-way glass was installed two years ago, which saves the department a trip elsewhere to perform physical lineups.

“In the past, we had to go to Hermitage (Police Department) to do that,” Osborne said. “It was our only option before now.”

According to Osborne, additional improvements he would like to see at the department include the installation of additional cameras and videos. He also said new equipment, such as new steel benches for the processing room and new lockers, would be beneficial as well.

The Grove City Borough Police Department building, located 337 E. Pine St., has been in operation since 1980. Police officers currently share the facility with Grove City Volunteer Fire Department.

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