HIGHLAND | If you commit a violent crime in one of the three Ridge communities, you might be facing police officers from all three towns.
The Town Council on Monday unanimously approved an agreement that would combine officers from Highland, Griffith and Munster for special patrols to deal with such crime in each town.
Munster is expected to sign its portion of the agreement this week, and Griffith will soon do the same.
"Then we'll be ready to hit the street," said Highland Police Chief Peter Hojnicki.
The Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force District Wide Smart Policing, Firearms/Gang Initiative will be funded by a $35,000 federal grant Highland recently received, Hojnicki noted.
The money will pay for the officers' overtime as they combine their individual expertise to form the task force, Hojnicki said.
The task force will address major problems identified by each town, along with crime mapping, to determine where they will patrol, Hojnicki said.
On any give day, the force will focus on one area in one of the towns, Hojnicki said.
"There will be as many as nine cars at a time" on the patrol.
Hojnicki noted that these patrols will be in addition to regular police patrols and the officers will not be deterred from their regular duties.
Their overtime will be covered through the grant as each department assumes the cost of the patrol cars and equipment, Hojnicki said.
Last week, Griffith Town Council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd, offered words of praise for Highland's chief.
"Pete Hojnicki took the lead to make this happen. Great for all three communities," Ryfa said.
Highland Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin also noted that Highland Town Attorney Rhett Tauber did significant work on the agreement, which also was agreed to by attorneys for the other towns.
"This is one of several police initiatives we hope the communities will put together," Hojnicki said.