Part-time officer to begin duties soon in Rankin

RANKIN — The village of Rankin’s new police officer is expected to be able to start working sometime this month, after his squad car is properly outfitted.

Village Board President Aaron Warren informed the board at its monthly meeting Thursday that the village had received a check from its insurance provider for a claim the town submitted for the police department’s portable radios and computer that were stolen in a burglary at Village Hall last October.

Warren said the funds will be used to buy one new radio, which will be installed in the squad car. The village is also acquiring a computer for the squad car, Warren said.

All this needs to be done before the town’s new part-time police officer, Marvin Dobkins of Hoopeston, can start working in Rankin. Warren said Dobkins’ projected startup date would be within a couple weeks.

At this time, Dobkins will be the only officer hired. Warren and board members agreed that they need to get the police department up and running again before hiring another part-time officer as previously planned.

In a previous meeting, the board voted to hire two part-time officers, who would work up to 16 hours per week. Once the police department is up and running, the board will look into hiring the second officer.

Rankin has been without an officer of its own since August 2015, when Stewart Stafford left for a full-time job with Paxton police.

Other business
In other business at Thursday’s meeting:

➜ The pastor of the United Methodist Church in Rankin asked the board about starting a Facebook page for the village. The pastor noted that a lot of younger people so not read the newspaper, but they do use Facebook. She said a Facebook page could be used to promote community events and whatever else the board wanted known to the public. There had been a similar page before, but it turned out to be more of a “bashing page” than a community page; therefore, some board members had their concerns. The pastor said she would help with a Facebook page and suggested board members serve as moderators. Board members agreed that it was OK for her to do this, but that the Facebook page not be affiliated with the village board but instead be a Rankin community page. The pastor agreed and asked that the board give her any input or information needed to be put on the page.

➜ Road work funded by the village’s motor fuel tax revenue was to start Aug. 7, the board learned. In preparation, the village needs to make sure that everything is scraped and any holes needing filled with cold patch are done.

➜ The board made plans to look into buying properties in town that are made available to the village before Vermilion County’s delinquent tax sale.
The village is doing this in an attempt to clean up properties and prevent “squatting” situations.

➜ The board was informed that nothing has been received from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on issues the village has been dealing with. The issues involved the village’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

➜ The water plant control system upgrade is moving forward, the board learned. A contract has been signed, but there are some operational questions to be answered still. It is the village’s obligation to do plumbing and electrical work for the new system.
Once the work is done, there will be a startup with both the old and new system, which is going to be challenging. The new system is electronic and easier to work with.

➜ The board went into executive session to discuss the performance of specific employees.

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