HEBRON | Most of the town's police force attended Tuesday's town council meeting, but it wasn't to quell an angry mob.
The officers were there to receive public thanks from Police Chief Steve Sibbrell after the annual FBI crime statistics report showed Hebron has the lowest per capita crime rate of any community in Northwest Indiana. Statistics through the end of 2011 showed the town with a total of 34 known offenses for a population of about 3,700.
Sibbrell said the achievement was a team effort by the officers, the council — which provided funds for needed equipment and training — Town Attorney Ted Fitzgerald and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., who helped get grants, including a COPS grant for equipment.
It was a night of good news for the town as the council set up funds to accept two more grants for the police department. One from Portage was used to pay overtime for officers to participate in special patrols to target aggressive driving; the other was for $3,574 from the Porter County Substance Abuse Council to buy intoxication meters to test for drunk drivers.
Council President Don Ensign also reported the town will finally get a new hardware store, something town officials have long sought. The last hardware store in town was a Coast to Coast located in the Country Square Plaza at the north end of town. It went out of business around 1998, and the space was divided.
A Blockbuster Video occupied one half of the space and the other half remained vacant, but Ensign said the dividing wall is being knocked down in preparation for a True Value store moving in by spring. That was followed by the announcement that a pet supply store will be opening downtown in the near future.
"Maybe we can get the lights on in some of these vacant stores," Ensign said. "If we do, it might attract even more businesses."