Griffith signs off on multi-town police task force

2012-12-18T21:30:00Z 2012-12-18T22:49:03Z Griffith signs off on multi-town police task forceCHARLES F. HABER Times Correspondent
December 18, 2012 9:30 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | With Griffith's approval Tuesday, the three-town police task force is two-thirds of the way toward hitting the streets.

The Highland Town Council signed on last week.

The Violence Reduction Initiative Task Force will be formed by the police departments in Griffith, Highland and Munster.

Griffith Town Council members said Munster is expected to approve its portion of the agreement at its next council meeting.

"The reason this agreement came about is through Highland's generosity," said Griffith Town Council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd. "(Highland Police Chief) Pete Hojnicki took the lead to make this happen."

Ryfa said Hojnicki received a $35,000 federal grant to pay overtime costs and offered to use it for the three-town task force.

"I think it definitely is going to be a good thing," said Griffith Interim Police Chief Matthew Moore.

Moore also said he looks forward to working with the other departments in a proactive manner.

The task force will address major problems identified by each town, along with crime mapping, to determine where they will patrol. On any give day, the force will focus on one area in one of the towns.

The individual departments will pay for the patrol cars and other equipment. Last week Hojnicki said the task force will operate in addition to the departments' regular patrols.

In other business, Moore said that, after last week's tragic shooting of 20 children and six adults in a Connecticut elementary school, his department met with the safety coordinator of Griffith Public Schools.

Officers also met with the high school, middle school and elementary school principals to talk about safety.

Moore said there has been a temporary boost of police presence and Volunteer Emergency Service Team members to augment the regular school patrols.

"We put some extra eyes and ears around the schools," he said.

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