THE POWHATAN Police Department recently underwent a complete overall. With the swearing in of Police Chief Jason West, who has been with the department for more than two years, came two new officers as well, Ben Coblentz and Chase Maffe.
West took the position of chief because he felt that the village needed a chief that already knew the area and the people and would ease the transition. West served as acting chief before he was sworn in.
Coblentz started as an auxiliary officer for Powhatan three months ago and has served as a police officer for seven years. Maffe works as a full-time officer with the Benwood Police Department and has been an officer for little over a year.
These three have made several huge changes and promises in the last few weeks. Some of the changes include cracking down on speeding and those who chose to break the law. They have promised that they will be more proactive rather than reactive.
Chief West's main goal is for the department to return to full strength and make it a full-time department. As of right now it's only part-time and falls under the jurisdiction of the Belmont County Sheriff's Department.
"The Belmont County Sheriff's Department is already stretched so thin and they are responding to our calls. It would be better for the safety of our residents if the department was 24 hours and we were able to respond to those calls in a moment's notice," said West.
The police force plans on trying to have more positive interactions with the community, as well as the children.
"I feel that more positive interactions with children will help in the future," said Coblentz.
West is in the process of working with Mayor Mark McVey and other members of council on changing village ordinances to reflect the Ohio Revised Code.