Middletown Division of Fire – 2018

The 2018 City budget was presented to City Council in October and will be up for passage after a first reading at the November 7th meeting and a second reading and passage on November 21st.

During 2017, the Middletown Division of Fire conducted a Strategic Planning Study to chart their operational course for the future.  Our fire stations are older and not ideally placed, and some newer technology and other best practices are not always available in our current operating configuration.

With the Planning Study completed, we will be undertaking several new initiatives in the Division of Fire in 2018.  We will undertake a fire station location study that incorporates expected growth on the east end and then identifies where our fire stations would be ideally located to provide the best possible service to the residents and businesses in Middletown.  It will include not only location, but also the best mix of fire engines, ambulances, and auxiliary equipment to most quickly respond to any emergency situation.

With that in mind, we will also be looking at a staffing recommendation for each station and overall staffing in the Division of  Fire.  If we can identify the best practices, we can start the discussion of how we pay for smart additions to fire without further taxing our residents.

Finally, we will be reorganizing some of our fire operations in 2018 to better work on preventative services.   We will be promoting three firemen to Administrative Lieutenants.

The first Lieutenant will assist EMS Captain VonBargen in EMS and training operations, allowing Captain VonBargen to start work on a Community Paramedicine Program for the City of Middletown.

Community Paramedicine is a model of community-based health care in which paramedics function outside their customary emergency response and transport roles in ways that facilitate more appropriate use of emergency care resources and enhance access to primary care for medically underserved populations. Urban areas like Middletown typically utilize community paramedic programs to address the various health care, mental health, housing and social service needs of a discrete group of frequent ER users, with the goal of keeping them out of the emergency services system.

This Lieutenant’s Job Responsibilities will include:

  • Infection Control Officer – manage the infection control program for the Division of Fire in compliance with NFPA 1581 guidelines
  • Inventory, evaluate, and upgrade EMS supplies and equipment
  • Administer CPR & First Aid Training for other city departments as needed
  • Manage EMT/Paramedic Student Clinical Ride-A-Long Program
  • Coordinate the EMS Quality Improvement Program
  • Coordinate mock prom crash events with the Safety Council and area high schools
  • Instruct continuing education training for the Division of Fire
  • Assist with the development and implementation of the of a Community Paramedicine Program

The second Lieutenant will assist Fire Operations Captain Ludwig and focus on our Special Operation responses.  This Lieutenant’s duties will include:

  • Assist in the management of all firefighting supplies, equipment, maintenance, repair and ordering
  • Assist in the management of all fire gear, PPE inspection, maintenance, and ordering
  • Instruct fire continuing education training for the Division of Fire
  • Coordinate all aspects of the Knox Box Program
  • Assist with the management of Special Operations Teams of the Division of Fire
  • Assist in the management of all aspects of the Division of Fire’s Inspection and Pre-plan Program
  • Coordinate the Fire Operations Quality Improvement Program

The third Lieutenant will focus on developing a Community Risk Reduction program to reduce Fire and EMS calls For Service;  and work on enforcement of the city’s nuisance ordinance within the boundaries of the Fire Code and other assistance to city departments for such.  This Lieutenant’s duties will include:

  • Develop and coordinate a Community Risk Reduction program to reduce Fire and EMS calls for service through education, awareness, appropriate dispatch triage and other means
  • Develop community events and activities for National Fire Prevention Week
  • Instruct continuing education training for the Division of Fire
  • Provide relief of tour personnel as needed during mandatory and in-service training activities
  • Assist with the development and implementation of the City’s Community Disaster Program
  • Assist with the management of hose testing, hydrant testing, ground ladder testing, and aerial ladder testing
  • Assist with the management of the Division of Fire’s smoke detector program as available

Your Division of Fire is reinventing itself for the 21st Century to be where you need us when you need us in the quickest and most thorough ways possible.  I’d like to congratulate Chief Lolli and Assistant Chief Snively for taking the lead in planning for our future.

Good stuff from the Middletown Division of Fire.  You should be proud of their dedication to your safety.  I am.

3rd Quarter City Departmental Reports

The third quarter departmental reports are in.   I’ll get them posted to the city web page in the next few days.  In the mean time, it’s always interesting to see how much work gets done throughout the city.  Some of it is visible… some behind the scenes.

For the third quarter of this year, from July through September:

Human Resources welcomed 9 new employees and processed the end of employment for 10 departing employees.

The Health Department screened 87 youth for lead levels, conducted inspections on 161 food service operations, completed 58 swimming pool inspections, investigated 29 animal bites, completed 21 indigent cremations, issued 1118 birth certificates and issued 906 death certificates.

Code enforcement year to date has completed 796 commercial inspections, resolving 300 violations; completed 962 residential inspections, resolving 1529 violations; and completed 5551 nuisance inspections, resolving 3588 violations.

The Law Department for the third quarter reviewed 30 contracts and drafted 25 pieces of legislation for City Council.  The Prosecutor’s Office at the end of September had 10,126 open cases including 862 felonies, 3730 misdemeanors, 307 drunk driving cases, and 5227 traffic cases outstanding.

Our social media presence continues to grow.  Through the end of September, the City Instagram account had 876 followers, the City’s Twitter account was followed by 1047 people, and through the end of September, the City’s Facebook page reached 198,084 people year to date.

Building Inspection year to date has issued permits for 31 new single family homes valued at $4.5 million and 13 new commercial buildings totaling just under $9 million in construction value.

Public Works in the third quarter made repairs to 192 traffic signals, performed 1348 lane miles of street sweeping, made repairs to 87 street signs, treated 1,468 million gallons of wastewater and produced 839 million gallons of potable water (Water Treatment Plant).

Middletown Division of Police has been very active in drug enforcement over the past quarter.  Year to date, total drug related arrests are up substantially over last year and felony drug arrests are up 41% over last year at the same time.  As the drug dealers change their tactics, so do we. Our K9 drug dogs continue to pull drugs off the street every day.

We are continuing to see leveling off of overdoses in the third quarter.  In the third quarter the Middletown Division of Fire ran 2440 EMS calls for service compared to 2467 for the third quarter last year.

The full reports should be online by the end of the week!

Opiate Update

On Thursday, October 19th, I had the privilege of presenting at the Ohio Economic Development Association conference to several hundred Ohio economic development professionals on the effect of opiate addiction on communities.


The panel consisted of federal perspectives, the community level impact, and employer issues in dealing with heroin addiction.  It was a great panel and I’d like to thank OEDA for asking me to speak on the topic.  At the community level, we talked about the impact addiction has on our first responders and what addiction is doing to the ability of communities to field a workforce for local businesses.

As I got back, the latest issue of Public Management magazine was waiting for me.  I read whatever I can to see what the best practices are in all areas, and the second article in this issue was entitled “Opiate Addiction – A multidisciplinary Approach.”  It’s nice to know that even with problem areas, you are working with the best practices available.

The article suggested creating a coalition of community leaders to take action on multiple fronts including community education, Hospital ED policies, diversion through court practices, harm reduction while the addict is still using, and providing additional treatment and post treatment alternatives.   I’m proud of our Heroin Summit coalition, our partnership with Atrium Medical Center, and the hard week that we’ve been completing for the past two years.   We are ahead of the curve compared to many Ohio communities in our recognition of this problem and on the steps taken to actively combat addiction.

Our efforts are paying off.  Over the past six months we have seen reducing numbers of overdoses and deaths.  For the past six months, here are our EMS runs:

Month                          Fatal OD      Non-Fatal OD         Total

April                                12                    139                      151

May                                 11                    107                      118

June                                 8                     113                       121

July                                 4                        73                        77

August                           2                        68                         70

September                    1                        31                         32

Is it a trend?  We hope so.



WCPO and Sweeps Week

WCPO is looking for ratings during sweep week and they are upset that Chief Muterspaw and I wouldn’t participate in their gotcha journalism on area police departments.

The lead in for their story shows a great picture of me sitting at Council where Craig Cheatham shoves a microphone in my face and appears to be surprised that I’m not going to talk to him by ambush.  I think the closed caption says “We’re not going to do this tonight.”

Let me expand.  We’re not going to do this anytime we get microphones shoved in our faces to go on a witch hunt for Middletown employees.  I don’t do interviews by ambush, and I don’t participate when media are looking specifically for ways to make Middletown look bad.  This isn’t reporting news.  It’s creating news from incidents that happened 1-3 years ago.

I answer to City Council and the residents of this community.  Not to WCPO.

I hope when the story runs, the story will have extensive coverage of all of MPD’s activities including:

Last weekend’s Candy with a Cop, where Middletown Police Department and community partners distributed Halloween candy to young children too sick or disabled to go trick or treating this week.

MPD participation in Halloween without Heroin, where Police and the community joined together to meet, eat and share stories and solutions to the drug problem in Middletown.


Our quarterly Coffee with a Cop, where MPD, dispatch and jail employees meet with the community quarterly to update the residents on MPD activities and to answer community questions.

Chief Muterspaw’s outreach to area churches on Sunday mornings to discuss opiate addiction.

Chief’s ongoing quarterly meetings with local pastors to discuss how the religious community can partner with law enforcement to improve the community.

The great work being done by the MPD Citizens Advisory Board.

The extensive participation of the community in National Night Out each August.

Our series of community dialogues over the past two years with the African American community to discuss race relations in the city and particularly ways to collectively improve communication between MPD and the community.

The recruitment and expansion of our Neighborhood Watch program in Middletown.

The great work MPD has done as part of the Heroin Response Team, getting over 250 opiate addicted individuals into treatment over the past 18 months.

The great work MPD has done in reducing the opiates coming into the city with a 40% increase in felony drug arrests in 2017.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea….

Wouldn’t it be cool if we also reported on all the things MPD does right every day?

My guess is that you won’t see any of the above on WCPO as part of this story.  That won’t win sweeps week.

Do we make mistakes?  Of course.  Chief Muterspaw has been the first to point out that as we handle so many things during the course of the year, human officers in stressful situations, will occasionally fail in their duties.

So let’s play the hand WCPO wants to play.

Let’s start with the definition of discipline.

On Dictionary.com, the first definition of discipline is:  training to act in accordance with rules;

That’s the goal.  Behave appropriately.  My guess is that the WCPO story will have little to do with training or conforming behavior to the rules.   I could be wrong.  You watch and see.

WCPO looked at several years of discipline records to get their story.  I’ll just look at 2015 forward.

From January 1, 2015 through September 30, 2017, MPD responded to 108,409 calls for service.   Those calls for service resulted in 17,060 arrests.  During that time, the City received 38 citizen complaints against MPD.  8 of those complaints were found to be legitimate complaints with improper conduct by MPD in some fashion.

We definitely make mistakes.  But according to our citizens, we don’t make too many of them.  Using the 8 sustained complaints, we make an average of approximately 13,551 calls between sustained complaints.    I’m not sure human beings in daily stressful situations can do much better.  When it does happen, we use discipline where appropriate, to correct the behavior and to prevent recurrence of the improper conduct.  Where appropriate, we also remove officers from duty.

My understanding is that WCPO wants to focus on two complaints they believe were not handled appropriately.  That takes us to 2 incidents, more than a year old, in 108,409 calls for service in which WCPO believes we acted inappropriately.  Said differently, using WCPO standards, even when we made mistakes that required discipline, we correctly handled 108,407 out of 108,409 calls for service.

See if the story tonight looks like that.  99.998% correctly handled, even when an officer was disciplined as part of a sustained complaint.

That doesn’t win sweeps week, I suppose.  Is it any wonder that people are not lining up to be police officers anymore?




Kettering Health Network Rezoning Request


There’s been a lot of discussion around town on the benefits and pitfalls of allowing Kettering Health Network to add overnight beds to their facility at the old Reyton Inn site at the I-75 Interchange.

Kettering (KHN) originally came to the city with a plan to build a $30 million outpatient medical facility that offered an Emergency Room and outpatient services.   As the project progressed, KHN revisited the original plan and inquired about adding 8-20 beds for overnight stays in space that wasn’t otherwise designated.  As it stands now, an outpatient stay is anything less than 23 hours.   In order to accommodate that request, a zone change would have to be sought and approved by Planning Commission and subsequently, City Council.  

The KHN application for a zoning change went to Planning Commission, and after a long public hearing, the Planning Commission recommended denial of KHN’s zoning request to allow the hospital beds for overnight stays.  This had no impact on the original KHN plans for the facility.

After Planning Commission votes on a proposed zoning change, the matter comes to City Council to affirm or deny the recommendation of Planning Commission.  Under City Ordinances, there must be a published notice of public hearing at least 30 days before the matter can come before City Council for consideration.   The notice was published and the 30 day notice period meant that the matter would not come to City Council at the October 3rd meeting, but rather on Tuesday’s meeting on October 17th.

The delay was not staff driven, Planning Commission driven, or at the request of either KHN or Atrium Medical Center.  It was simply a matter of Middletown law which requires that people know about the proposed change and have 30 days opportunity to express public opinion, both at the Public Hearing, and also to their City Council representatives.

The KHN zoning request was set to come to City Council today.  Under Middletown Ordinances, if City Council wishes to reverse the recommendation of Planning Commission, it takes an affirmative vote of four of the five Council members to overturn Planning Commission’s recommendation.  Four out of five City Council members would need to vote yes to allow the KHN zoning to be changed to permit hospital beds at the new facility.  City staff recommended to City Council that the zoning be changed to allow the beds as requested by KHN.

On Monday, October 16, 2017, around noon, KHN submitted a letter to me formally withdrawing their application to rezone the two parcels in question, thereby abandoning their request to add hospital beds to the new facility.  The KHN zoning requests have been removed from today’s City Council agenda and they are no longer under consideration by the City at the request of KHN.

Again, this does not change the original designs of the facility to offer Emergency Room services and outpatient services.

There have been discussions in the community that the city supported or didn’t support the KHN plan and that the matter was somehow subjectively being manipulated by City government to get a particular outcome.   This one is by the books folks.  Planning Commission made their recommendation.  The city followed the law and standard procedure to publish notice and offer time for comment.  KHN withdrew their request completely with no input from  City staff.    I do not know their business reasons for withdrawing their request.

There will be no public hearing on this item or a vote of council tonight.  The request is withdrawn and done.

I hope this explains the process and timeline so people can understand what happened and why.







See You at the Bash!

See you at the Bash!                                                           monster bash

For the sixth year in a row, the popular Monster Bash will take place on the corner of Central and Broad in Middletown this Saturday, October 7. This family friendly event will feature bands with Middletown ties including Used Toys, The Beaumonts and Johnny Fugate, a kid zone, food trucks and a costume contest for all ages.

Monster Bash is a great example of the Middletown community coming together in celebration. Adriane Scherrer, founder of We Can – Business Incubator, Inc. operates as the Broad Street Bash for part of the year to put on the summer concert series as well as the Monster Bash.

Join us for an evening of fun in downtown Middletown!


Robert “Sonny ” Hill Community Center Partnership


As the saying goes, its takes a village to raise a child… in an effort to improve the quality of life for Middletown citizens, the following partnership was formed- the City of Middletown; Atrium Medical Center; the Community Building Institute Middletown Inc., which operates the Robert “Sonny” Hill Community Center; the nonprofit A Brush of Hope; and Su Casa Hispanic Center; are partnering to offer what’s being called Atrium Days at the community center. Atrium Days will bring access to health information on a variety of topics close to people in the community with the support of bilingual staff.

Atrium Days at the RSHCC will begin Wednesday, Oct. 11, and be held the second Wednesday each month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The community center is located at 800 Lafayette Ave., Middletown, OH 45044.

The collaboration of these groups- the City of Middletown,  Atrium Medical Center,  the Community Building Institute Middletown Inc., the nonprofit A Brush of Hope and Su Casa Hispanic Center is to provide services and education to reach more people closer to home, who might otherwise have trouble accessing services due to transportation and other barriers.

City of Middletown funding will provide bilingual support staff to extend hours at the community center’s Parent Resource Center, also on Wednesdays. To truly impact poverty requires a comprehensive approach addressing all of the symptoms of poverty including education, social services, job resources, and health. The City has partnered for years with the Community Building Institute at the community center to build that network of resources. Adding the extensive network of resources and expertise of Atrium Medical Center to the array of services available at the Center moves our work forward immensely. We strive to lift up families. Atrium is a great partner in that endeavor.

“Going outside of hospital walls to bring health information to people in the community is just one example of how Premier Health and Atrium Medical Center strives to improve access to services with key partners,” said Michael Uhl, president of Atrium Medical Center. “Atrium Days is an opportunity for community members to meet our staff, ask questions about their health or about the hospital’s services, and walk away with health tips from our different subject matter experts.”

During Atrium days, hospital staff will come to the RSHCC and provide attendees information on different topics each month such as women’s health, diabetes, heart health, cancer care and more.

Also on Atrium Days, Su Casa Hispanic Center will offer referrals for emergency assistance and eventually, referrals for health care services to the Hispanic/Latino community. Su Casa’s mission is self-sufficiency for the poor and vulnerable of the immigrant community in the U.S. A Brush of Hope will offer daily classes for one hour to play groups at the community center.

“Our Su Casa Hispanic Center has served for more than 20 years. Expanding services in Middletown is a benefit to the whole community,” said Ted Bergh, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, which operates Su Casa.

“A Brush of Hope is pleased to partner with these wonderful agencies for the common goal of supporting the little ones in our community. All of us are passionate about art and understand the difference it can make in the life of a child. We are excited to begin this much-anticipated project,” said Aimee Lowrance, executive director of A Brush of Hope.

Meanwhile, The Community Building Institute will continue to offer its regularly scheduled programming and services on Wednesdays, such as playgroups for kids ages three to five; distribution of baby essentials including diapers, wipes and formula; GED and ESOL classes; Adolescent Community Treatment Services (ACTS), a program for teens with mandated community services hours; and a breastfeeding support group through Butler County Educational Services Center.

“CBI is thrilled to partner with the City of Middletown and Atrium Medical Center to bring Atrium Days, Brush of Hope and Su Casa services to the Robert “Sonny” Hill Community Center. This collaboration is a perfect fit for our cradle to career commitment to meet the needs of everyone,” said Verlena Stewart, director of the Robert Hill Community Center.

Many thanks to all our community partners who work with us to make Middletown a great place to live!