2018 Preview

So what can you expect from your city government in 2018?

During the first three years as your City Manager, I’ve attempted to start stabilizing our core services including Public Safety, Economic Development, and Water and Sewer Upgrades. We’ve added Police Officers, Firefighters and Economic Development staff to better execute in those departments on a daily basis.

As we move into 2018, the focus will broaden. The City will complete its first Master Plan since 2005. We have already completed Community Visioning, a new Downtown Master Plan, completely rewritten our Zoning Code and completed a housing study identifying opportunities and threats to our housing stock. In 2018, we’ll combine those individual parts and complete a new strategic Plan for the municipal Airport, update our Fire Department with a new study on staffing and fire station locations to best serve the public, identify housing policies that will improve our housing stock, and finally start a full review of how we move people in this city through pedestrian walking, bicycle, automobile and public transit services.

All of this will be framed with two underlying themes. First, we want to incorporate our community visioning into each piece. We know what we can do… how did you as a community want us to handle each piece of city services into the future? Second, we’ve always been good at building stuff, but we haven’t always done a great job of maintaining the nice things we add to the city.  As we talk about adding things like Recreation back to the budget, my goal is to do it responsibly and in a way that we believe is sustainable into the future.  If we can’t maintain it, then we can’t afford it yet.

There are two immediate changes coming in 2018 that we believe we can afford now.  First, 2018 will include an Animal Control Officer back in the budget for the first time in 10 years. We have relied on the county for this service for the last decade and now that revenues will support it, it’s time to start working on our feral cats and other animal issues.

Second, we’re adding staff to the Health Department. As of January 1, 2018, the Health Department will be open through lunch and all day on Friday.

To make the most of the valuable tax dollars that you give us, we are changing our payroll system. Any employees hired after January 1, 2018 will be on a new payroll system. In the current existing payroll system (which has been in place for over 30 years), employees get automatic increases each year for 7 years and then top out at the peak salary for whatever position they hold. Under the new system, those automatic increases are spread out over more years, meaning that city employees will start to get increases more in line with the private sector. As people leave and retire, any replacement employees will also be placed into the new program. We believe that this will save hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars after 5 years of implementation.

You’ll see further upgrades to the I-75 interchange area as we continue beautification efforts on the medians. As revenues allow, we’ll start moving down State Route 122 and upgrade the median landscaping throughout the city in future years.

We currently spend about $700,000 a year on street light electricity. One of the suggestions that I made to City Council back in 2014 was to look at charging the residents for that service. Most Ohio communities already have a monthly charge on the water bill for street light electricity. We’ve put that concept on hold, however, as we will be converting all of the city street lights to LED starting in 2018. This is expected to save us hundreds of thousands of dollars in electric costs each year. If I can pay less for electric, then that savings can be reinvested in roads and other infrastructure improvements without costing residents another penny.

In 2017, the Health Department completed a Community Health Assessment of Middletown.  As we move into 2018, I want to start exploring that report along with our EMS data and look at plans and programs that would improve the overall health of our residents.

Finally, to develop the best housing policies for the city moving forward, we not only have to do what is best for the city overall, but we have to understand the impacts of the best practices on the most disadvantaged in our community. What will any contemplated changes do to fixed income seniors, the poor and minority residents?

To be successful, we’ll need to hear their voices and understand their concerns. For me to be successful in changing our housing policies, we simply must address diversity and inclusion. Middletown, like many other cities, is often a very segregated city, between the haves and the have-nots, and at times between the white majority and our minority Latino and African American populations. Working together with ALL interested and impacted parties on housing issues gives everyone a chance to learn to trust each other a little more and to work towards common goals.

To my friends in the African American community, I will continue to put my hand out in friendship and will continue to truthfully tell you what I am trying to do and why I am trying to do it. That won’t change. We won’t always agree, but I hope that at some point you’ll believe that I’m sincere in my intention to improve your neighborhoods and that you will join me collectively to improve the city.

You want better, safe neighborhoods. I want a viable housing stock that attracts families to Middletown and improves property values throughout the city. It seems to me as though those goals are common and mutually inclusive. It should be a win/win situation. Let’s work together in 2018 to make sure that is what happens.

City Council gave me a goal three years ago of turning the City back towards prosperity without raising taxes. What that effectively means is that we have to design a profitable government that not only maintains existing services, but also generates enough revenue to start completing deferred maintenance on our roads, parks, neighborhoods and city buildings. It’s a tough job that most days I love.

I hope that you’re happy with the direction that the city is moving. Please always feel free to send us comments on things we could improve or good things you’ve seen in other cities that might benefit Middletown.

With Christmas coming next week, this will be my last blog post for the year.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas from my family to yours.  Enjoy the holidays and I’ll see you all in 2018!



2017 Year End Recap

So we come to the end of another year in Middletown.  I’m happy to say it’s been a productive year that moved us a little closer to sustainable revenues and better infrastructure.  

We are fortunate to have over three-quarters of a billion dollars in new projects recently completed or underway in Middletown for 2017 including the new NTE Power Plant ($600 million), the official opening of the AK Research and Innovation Center ($36 million), construction on the new Kettering Health Network Emergency Room/Outpatient facility at the I-75 Interchange ($30 million), $90 million in new schools for MCSD under way that will be completed in 2018, OPUS – with construction starting in 2018 on a 600,000 sq ft spec logistics center in MADE Industrial Park ($12+ million), Cohen opened an Electronics Recycling Center and is completing work on a new headquarters in Middletown, Cincinnati Eye Institute expanded to a new facility on the Atrium Campus, Baker Stevens Parramore Funeral Home opened a second location in 2017, the BP Gas station at the I-75 Interchange finally became a reality,  Dedicated Motivated Fitness invested $600,000 in a long time empty, blighted building to create a beautiful fitness center, and Hardee’s is nearing completion on Breiel Boulevard.

Downtown Middletown, which saw 23 new business openings in 2016, continued to expand with 2017 openings by Gracie’s, the Slice, Liberty Spirits Distillery , Rolling Mills Brewing Company, Spoken Bicycles, Grandpa Joe’s Candy and Blast Furnace Pizza.  In early 2018, we add new businesses already underway with a new O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and a BMW Motorcycle store in the old Senior Citizens Center.

Our Municipal Airport received and utilized a $1.1 million grant to repave all taxiways, ramps and aprons this year.  We replaced an antiquated weather system and will be working in 2018 to look at airport lighting and other repairs.  We continue to work with the Start Skydiving team to develop an indoor wind tunnel for the airport to add to the regional draw at that facility.

Our Small Business Development Center, which operates out of the City building had its most successful year to date.   They were honored in 2017 by the State of Ohio Award as the Best Center, received the SBA Region 5 Award (5 surrounding states) as Best Center, and also won the National SBA Award.  The national SBA looks at the 987 Centers operating throughout the United States.  This was the first time the National Award had been presented to an Ohio Center.

In December, the City established a PACE District. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) laws allow property owners to borrow money through governmental loans or bonds to pay for energy improvements to their properties. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property tax bill over a period of up to 30 years.  The BMW store in the old Senior Citizens Center is expected to be the first user of PACE financing in Middletown, but ANY business making energy efficiency improvements anywhere in Middletown that meets the program requirements can use the PACE financing tool for items such as roofs/windows/HVAC/insulation/ lighting upgrades, etc. 

In 2017, the Health Department completed a Community Health Assessment, identifying health threats to the community and populations that are being underserved in their health care due to age, location, or economic condition.  We hope utilize this information in 2018 to start looking at ways to make inroads into the health of our residents throughout the city.

The Division of Fire utilized a SAFER Grant to bring on 12 new fire fighters.  They completed a new Strategic Plan for the Fire Division in 2017, setting high level overall goals for the Division. Based on the goals established in the Strategic Plan, the Division of Fire will be working on a staffing and fire station location study in 2018 to design the best possible Fire Department to serve the city as it is currently built and to anticipate growth on the East End by the highway.

Our Heroin Response Team, made up of an EMS Paramedic, a MPD police officer and a Social Worker, reached out to addicts that were treated in Middletown in 2017.  This team successfully referred over 250 people to treatment and their work will continue into 2018.

The additional fire staff brought on with the SAFER grant allowed the city to  promote three new Lieutenants in 2018 whose main focus will be working on prevention efforts. This will include working with the Health Department on the conditions identified in the Community Health Assessment, continuing to look at the latest best practices in addressing opiate addiction, and addressing chronic, repeat EMS calls through community para-medicine techniques.

Community Para-medicine 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 under-served populations.

The Division of Police have recorded a 40% increase in drug arrests over 2016.  We now utilize 5 K-9’s to combat opiate epidemic.   MPD is in the process of adding new police software and technology that will give them real time crime data to make better and more timely staffing and enforcement decisions moving forward.

As usual, Chief Muterspaw has been everywhere in the community. MPD celebrated multiple community events in 2017 including National Night Out, Coffee with a Cop (quarterly), meeting with Middletown area pastors (quarterly), continued work with the Citizens Advisory Board, Candy with a Cop (distributing candy to children too sick or disabled to trick or treat), Shop with a Cop (to provide Christmas gifts to underprivileged children), and ongoing work with Middletown landlords.

We now have one Lieutenant who is assigned to nuisance enforcement throughout the city.  In 2018, you will start to see the use of technology to track nuisance activity throughout the City, both in EMS service misuse/overuse and on problem properties, neighborhoods and hot spots. The goal is to reduce overall calls for public safety services over time.

Starting in May of 2017, I made a series of presentations on the City’s housing stock and the threats and opportunities facing Middletown moving into the future. A housing study was completed that outlined the current demand for new construction housing in the city, and we saw new residential construction starting to pick up this year. In Renaissance, Fischer is under construction or has completed 36 new higher-end homes. Nicholas Place Apartments on Towne Boulevard is nearing completion with the addition of 216 market rate apartments. Goetz Tower downtown has completed demolition. In 2018, they will build out the entire six story building with 1st floor offices and 16 luxury apartments. We are working with Ryan Homes to restart the Sawyers Mill subdivision which would add 152 new homes in the $150,000-225,000 range over the next three years.

2018 will see a complete revamp of the City’s Housing Policies. We will be working with the community to develop ways to improve housing conditions, housing values and reoccupy vacant homes. Those policies will likely include further demolition, renovation of existing homes, infill construction in limited areas, and a full use of the Butler County Land Bank. The goal of this work will be to start balancing our housing stock to be competitive in Southwest Ohio. Only when we have a better mix of desirable homes throughout the city will housing prices start to improve and stay higher into the future. We have a lot of work to do here yet.  

While the City had many businesses that reached milestones this year, two of our largest are due special mention:

Middletown Regional Hospital/Atrium celebrated 100 years of operation in Middletown this year. Miami University Middletown, Ohio’s first regional campus, celebrated 50 years of operation in Middletown.

We saw the end of our first year of operation of the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) downtown. All in all, it went incredibly well and people have been respectful, threw away their trash, and thoroughly enjoyed attending events downtown and having an alcoholic beverage walking around as they did so.   We look forward to more people and more events downtown in 2018.

July 4th activities were back in 2017, and the city hosted a number of other events including Balloon Fest, First Fridays, Taking it to the Streets summer concerts, Movies in the Park, Women Wine and Chocolate, Windamere themed dinners, parades and now Light Up Middletown.

2017 saw record income tax revenues in Middletown. We have a ton of work left to do, but we are heading in the right direction. With all of the new projects underway, Middletown is living up to its motto of a Bright Past and a Brighter Future.  


Sewer Rate Increases

As part of the 2018 budget, city sewer rates will go up another 15%.  I know that this is not welcome news and I know especially for lower income and fixed income families, this is a hard increase to take.

As I’ve said before, we have three distinct problems coming with our water and sewer system.

In the older parts of the city, our water and sewer pipes are anywhere from 50-100 years old and are reaching the end of their useful life.  Over the next 20 years, we will need to replace failing pipes throughout the older portions of the city.

Our water and sewer plants are older and will require major renovations and maintenance upgrades over the next 20 years to remain viable and in compliance.

Finally, the EPA is requiring cities like ours that have combined sewers where rain water and sanitary sewers flow together into one pipe, to adopt a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to separate and modernize those systems moving into the future.

We are not the only local municipality dealing with this issue. We are in fact one of the last cities in Ohio to negotiate a deal with the EPA on this issue. The table below (from the Ohio EPA) shows the status of other Ohio cities in this process. As you can see, most are already underway and in the process of incurring the high costs associated with correcting this problem. The price tag for the Cincinnati’s LTCP is estimated to be $1.5 billion dollars.

The City of Springfield, a city similar to Middletown, just had an article detailing the increase in rates there to meet their obligations:


Seeing what other communities are going through doesn’t make your sewer bill any smaller, but my hope is that you can better understand what is going on here and elsewhere in Ohio with this issue. We are not alone and we are actually one of the last communities in Ohio to go through this process. We kept rates as low as possible for as long as possible. Now it’s our turn.



Akron Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2028
Ansonia State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Arcanum State Yes Approved Complete 2010
Avon Lake State Yes Approved Ongoing 2019
Bluffton State Yes Approved Complete 2007
Bowling Green State Yes Approved PCM 2009
Bradford State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Bremen State Yes Approved Ongoing 2015
Bucyrus Federal No Under Review Negotiating TBD
Caldwell State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Clyde State Yes Approved Ongoing 2015
Columbus Grove State Yes Approved Ongoing 2018
Columbus – Jackson Pike State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Columbus – Southerly State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Crestline State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Defiance State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Delphos State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Delta State Yes Approved Ongoing 2026
Deshler State Yes Approved Complete 2013
Dunkirk State Yes Approved Ongoing 2016
Elyria State No Under Review Ongoing TBD
EORWA State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Euclid Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Fayette State Yes Approved Ongoing 2030
Findlay State Yes Approved PCM 2000
Forest State Yes Approved Complete 2010
Fort Recovery State Yes Approved Ongoing 2019
Fostoria Federal Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Fredericktown State Yes Approved Ongoing 2029
Fremont State Yes Approved Ongoing 2028
Gibsonburg State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Girard State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Green Springs State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Greenwich State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Hamler State Yes Approved Complete 2006
Hicksville State Yes Approved Ongoing 2029
Ironton Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2026
Lakewood Federal No Under Review Ongoing TBD
Lancaster State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Leipsic State Yes Approved PCM 2009
Lima Federal No Under Review Under Review TBD
Lisbon State Yes Approved Ongoing 2020
Luckey State Yes Approved Complete 2008
Malta State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Marion State Yes Approved Ongoing 2020
McComb State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
McConnelsville State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Metamora State Yes Approved Complete 2011
Middleport State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Middletown Federal No Under Review Under Review TBD
Milford State Yes Approved Complete 2009
Mingo Junction State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Monroeville State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Montpelier State Yes Approved Ongoing 2018
MSDGC Federal Yes Conditionally Approved Ongoing TBD
Napoleon State Yes Approved Ongoing 2019
NEORSD Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2034
New Boston Federal No Not Submitted Ongoing TBD
Newark State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Newton Falls State Yes Approved Ongoing 2020
North Baltimore State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Norwalk State Yes Approved Ongoing 2019
Oak Harbor State Yes Approved Complete 2009
Ohio City State Yes Approved Ongoing 2014
Pandora State Yes Approved Complete 2012
Paulding State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Payne State Yes Approved Complete 2012
Perrysburg State Yes Approved Ongoing 2014
Pomeroy State Yes Approved Ongoing 2029
Port Clinton Federal Yes Approved Complete 2010
Portsmouth Federal No Phase 1 – Approved Ongoing TBD
Sandusky State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Springfield State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Steubenville State No Under Review Ongoing TBD
Swanton State Yes Approved Ongoing 2026
Tiffin State Yes Approved Ongoing 2026


Toledo Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2020
Toronto Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Upper Sandusky State Yes Under Review Ongoing 2015
Van Wert State Yes Approved Ongoing 2016
Wapakoneta State Yes Approved Ongoing 2021
Warren State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Wauseon State Yes Approved PCM 2013
Willard State Yes Approved Complete 2000
Woodsfield State Yes Approved Ongoing 2018
Woodville State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Wooster State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Youngstown Federal No Under Review Under Review TBD
Zanesville State Yes Approved Ongoing 2027

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?