BUTLER TWP. — In an effort to help businesses deter crime, the Butler Township Police Department is forming Business Watch group with businesses in the Miller Lane area.
The first formal meeting of the group was held last Wednesday with Butler Township Police Chief John Cresie, Crime Prevention Officer Amy Carter, and representatives of several businesses.
“Overall I was pleased with today’s meeting,” said Cresie. “I think the businesses represented here were very receptive to the idea of forming a business watch, so much so they want us to schedule another meeting within a short amount of time to try to get more support from the business community.”
A date will be set for the next meeting soon.
Representatives were present from DayAir Credit Union, Red Roof Inn, Hampton Inn, Red Lobster, Extended Stay, Taco Bell, and Petland.
Cresie told the group that the Township is serious about dealing with crime in a proactive way. He that during a recent selective enforcement event 10 arrests were made in a 4.5 hour operation that included Township, Vandalia, and Huber Heights police officers. Three arrests were made as a result of a canine unit conducting a free air sniff - which supports the Township’s bid for a canine unit, according to Cresie.
“We are in the process of applying for a grant that would pay for a canine unit,” he said.
Cresie thanked the Nurturing Nest for volunteering to accept the grant on behalf of the Township. This is because grant recipients need to be a 501c3 charitable organization. Cresie said that North Dixie Veterinary Clinic has agreed to provide veterinary services should the Township obtain a canine unit.
Cresie estimates the total cost to obtain a canine unit would be approximately $17,000 which includes training for the dog’s handler and outfitting a vehicle for the unit.
Cresie said the idea to form a Business Watch came from meetings he has held with hotel owners since last year.
“The Township is working to become a destination to dine out, shop, and stay overnight,” said Cresie. “There are issues on Miller Lane, but I think you can say that about any major business district,” said Cresie. “I think some of the enthusiasm of the group came from the fact that we are trying to work together with them to help them solve some of the problems their businesses face.”
Jeff O’Neal, a manager at Red Lobster, said that while businesses are competitors, safety comes first.
“We are all in the business of making money, and all of us are trying to take each other’s business,” he said. “But we should all be in the business of helping to keep each other safe.”