Officer of the year honored

By Cecilia Fox -

TIPP CITY — At their meeting Tuesday night, the Tipp City Council honored the 2015 Police Officer of the Year, Officer Darren Soutar.

The award recognizes top performers in the police department during the previous year.

Police Chief Eric Burris surveyed the department asking them to nominate one of their peers for the honor. Those surveyed said that Soutar is a role model for his fellow officers. Soutar has been with the department since 2005.

Mayor Pat Hale read a proclamation honoring Soutar for his achievement.

“The City of Tipp City hereby recognizes the achievements of Officer Darren Soutar and expresses pride in presenting to him the 2015 Officer of the Year Award,” the proclamation read.

The proclamation recognized Soutar for taking on the heroin epidemic in the area, and for his involvement in a contested drug arrest that went before the Ohio Supreme Court last summer. The court upheld the case, finding that Soutar had performed his job properly.

Council extended their congratulations to Officer Soutar.

Council also approved a contract with LeVan’s Excavating for the construction of the Lesher Woods bike trail at a cost of $278,000.

The contract needed to be approved so that trees can be removed to make way for the bike path before the arrival of Indiana bats (which migrate in the spring,) City Manager Tim Eggleston said.

“It is an endangered species and it does use shaggy-bark and some other trees to sleep in, so we do have to get rid of that habitat before they get here,” Councilman John Kessler said. Taking down trees before the bats arrive in the area will hopefully prevent injury to the bat population, he said.

Council approved the purchase of a new 2016 Ford Utility Interceptor for the police department at a cost of $27,173. This will replace an older vehicle. The purchase was made through a cooperative purchasing plan with the State of Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

Council also approved a resolution declaring the necessity for sidewalk improvements on properties on Westedge Drive, Bowman Avenue, and Lantana Court.

The cost of the repairs to sidewalks, curbs and gutters, and driveway aprons will be assessed to the property owners. The property owner will have 30 days to notify the city if they decide to use their own contractor to complete the work.

The engineer’s estimate for the project is about $24,000. The average cost per property owner will likely be about $400, Eggleston said.

By Cecilia Fox

Reach Cecilia Fox at or at (937) 552-2205.

Reach Cecilia Fox at or at (937) 552-2205.