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 Knightstown Town Council Honors Police Officer Derek Hall

July 29, 2009 - At the urging of the town's chief of police, the Knightstown Town Council recently passed a resolution honoring one of the town's officers.

Resolution 4-2009 singled out Knightstown Police Department officer Derek Hall for special recognition, expressing the town's "great pride and appreciation" for his efforts. The resolution, which drew unanimous support from the council's five members at their July 16 regular monthly meeting, noted three specific areas of accomplishment on Hall's part.

Hall was recognized for his efforts in securing a grant that has helped the KPD obtain and maintain a K-9 unit, as well as for his efforts to secure donations and pursue grants for further improvements at Sunset Park. The resolution also noted his participation in the Indianapolis 500 Parade this May as an "Anthem Angel," an honor the officer was nominated for by his wife.

Minutes after Hall was honored, Council Vice President Terry Guerin gave a brief update on another matter involving Hall and former KPD reserve officer Carey Stidham. Guerin reported that the Henry County Sheriff's Department had completed its investigation into a citizen's complaint that alleged Hall and Stidham had ignored his call to Stidham about a woman possibly overdosing. The woman ended up dying a few hours later in a house on South Jefferson Street.

Guerin said that Chief of Police Danny Baker was currently reviewing the HCSD's report. Once Baker was finished, Guerin said council members would review it, then meet in executive session to discuss the findings.

As The Banner recently reported, Henry County Coroner Stacey Guffey determined that the death of 34-year-old Angelina Wagner, a former Knightstown resident who lived in Barbourville, Ky., was accidental. Guffey said Wagner, who had more than three times the legal limit of alcohol in her system, had choked to death on vomit. Although state law would have permitted him to release the results of toxicology testing done on Wagner, Guffey declined to do so.

In other business at their July 16 meeting, council members voted unanimously to ask an Indianapolis political organization to restrict their hours of door-to-door canvassing in town. Citizen Action Coalition had faxed a letter to the town saying the wanted to canvas from 4-9 p.m.

Council President Valerie Trump asked the town's attorney, Gregg Morelock, whether the council could restrict the CAC's canvassing times, or deny their request altogether. Morelock replied that the answer to the latter question was likely no.

Morelock explained that the CAC would claim their activities are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and, therefore, could not be restricted by the town. While he said the town might be able to adopt an ordinance that placed some reasonable restrictions on times, he said the council would not be able to get the ordinance passed in time to address the issue with the CAC.

At Morelock's suggestion, the council agreed to send a letter to the CAC, acknowledging receipt of their letter, and asking if the group would voluntarily limit its activities to the hours of 4-8 p.m. Acting on a request from council member Clyde South, Morelock also said he would draft an amendment to the town's itinerant merchant ordinance that would limit the times of those selling items door-to-door to 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

The council also voted at its July 16 meeting to approve a $7,634.94 transfer from the town's Local Roads and Streets Fund to its Motor Vehicle and Highway Fund. Clerk-Treasurer Judy Haines said the transfer was necessary due to budget cuts that had been made in MVH.

It was announced that a public hearing on the town's proposed 2010 budget will be held at the council's Aug. 20 meeting. The council is expected to vote at its Sept. 17 meeting on whether to adopt the budget.

The council asked Morelock to draft an amendment to the town's parking ordinance that would prohibit parking on both sides of South Harrison Street for the first block south of Main Street. Guerin said council will also look into getting the state to remove the restricted 30-minute parking zone in front of Todd Funeral Home on Main Street, in order to free up more parking in the area.

Morelock also told the council he will draft a contract the town can use when it hires new police officers. Council members have expressed interest in having officers sign a contract agreeing to pay some of the money the town pays them while they attend the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy if they don't work with the KPD for an agreed upon amount of time.

The council voted to give Works Manager Mel Matlock permission to buy a new electronic meter reading device, the town's third. He said the $3,045 purchase would help town workers keep meters read in a more timely manner, and could increase billing accuracy.

Henry County Councilman Jerry Manis spoke briefly to the council about proposed road repairs in the area. He also provided the council with a copy of a recent audit of the New Castle-Henry Countyh Animal Shelter and discussed upcoming votes on the possible adoption of a Local Option Income Tax.

Additional information about business conducted at the Knightstown Town Council's July 16 meeting can be found in last week's Banner. Also, the town council's meeting memoranda -- official notes kept during the meeting -- are available for public inspection and copying at Knightstown Town Hall, 26 S. Washington St., during normal business hours.


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