Ripley residents question purchase of DragonCam

By Martha Jacob –

Ripley residents Ben Pedigo and Kristi Scott attended the Nov. 8 Ripley Council meeting to express their concerns over a recent plan by the Ripley Police Department to purchase DragonCams.
DragonCams are hand-held lasers that allows a police officer to either conduct a traditional traffic stop or capture an image of the violations with the photo laser, issuing a civil citation by mail.
The issue was presented to council at its Oct. 25 meeting and at that time Ripley Police Chief Joel Barnett gave a presentation to members of council regarding the plan to get at least two of the hand-held devices. The Blue Line DragonCam program would not cost the village anything.
However, Mr. Pedigo questioned whether or not the program would be good for the reputation of the Village of Ripley. Pedigo said he feared that Ripley could become known as a speed trap and that would not be good for the village.
Pedigo was told by Chief Barnett that his department would have 30 days to try the plan out before contracting with the company, but he believed slowing traffic down through the village would be the smart way to go.
Village administrator Pete Renshaw said that most of the council members seemed to be in favor of the DragonCam. “We feel like with limited manpower our police department currently has,” Renshaw said, “This device would be a big help to the police department. The issue but was tabled until the next board meeting to allow for more community input.
In other business at the meeting, council members said they were pleased that the fire levy passed from the Nov. ballot. Council also passed a resolution to enter into a contract with the Board of Township trustees of Union Township for the Village of Ripley Fire Department to provide fire protection for a period of two years. The resolution was passed as an emergency measure.
Mayor Tom Leonard, who was absent from the meeting, shared through acting mayor Charles Poole,  a letter he had received from the Ohio Department of Transportation asking council for a letter of support and a resolution  accepting a plan to extend a bike route throughout the State of Ohio.
“This bike trail which will eventually run from Indiana to Pennsylvania and will come into Ripley from Higginsport on 52, travel down Second Street,” Renshaw explained. “Then turn left at Main Street and follow it all the way to Red Oak. What ODOT wants from us is a resolution saying we are in favor of it. The deadline for them to get the resolution is Jan. 15, 2017. We tabled it because our meeting was running late.” The trial will not cost the village any money.