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Two vie for Follansbee police chief

May 29, 2013
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

FOLLANSBEE - Two will vie for Follansbee police chief in the city's June 11 general election.

They are challenger Paul Arthurs of 814 Gilbert Ave. and incumbent John Schwertfeger of 1083 Jefferson St.

A graduate of Brooke High School, Arthurs is employed as a shipping and receiving coordinator at Foerster Instruments.

He is a member and trustee of the city's volunteer fire department and received training in emergency vehicle operations; the National Incident Management System, which involves the coordination of emergency responses among federal, state and local officials; management of a communication center in multiple disasters and recognition of clandestine drug labs.

"I have also have worked with city, county and state police through the year and various ambulance services," Arthurs said.

"Many members of the community are concerned with the ongoing drug problem that over the years has been ignored. It is time to stop covering up the drug problem in this town. It is time to take action against the people in this town that are engaging in illegal drug activities. As chief of police, I will work hard to tackle the ongoing drug related incidents in town."

Arthurs said breakings and enterings also are a growing problem and he believes residents aren't being alerted of their occurrence.

"If elected chief of police, I will alert the residents of the town of any criminal activity. Communication needs to be established between the police and the residents. I will alert the people through public phone calls, a community online page, television and even the radio," he said.

Arthurs said he also would establish frequent patrols of school areas and push for two officers to be on duty at all times.

A graduate of Brooke High School, Schwertfeger has served as the city's police chief for 14 years. He has retired with 34 years with the Brooke County Ambulance Service, serving as its director for 22 years and has been a member of the city's volunteer fire department for 36 years.

He was director of Brooke County Emergency Services for eight years, chairman of the county's local emergency planning commission and a dispatcher for the county's emergency 911 center.

Schwertfeger said he's trained in many areas, including hazardous materials, firefighting, public information, emergency vehicle driving, vehicle and water rescue, firearms, less lethal force training and National Incident Management System.

Schwertfeger said if re-elected he will "continue the war on drugs and crimes associated with drugs, such as burglaries. Video surveillance, random traffic stops, public information and awareness, working with neighboring police agencies (through mutual aid agreements) and drug task force agencies, as well as education, are needed to achieve this goal."

He said domestic violence has grown and steps must be taken to protect the safety of citizens and police responding to such situations.

Schwertfeger added if elected he will push for stricter penalties for juveniles found guilty of certain crimes.

He said to make the police department more accessible to residents and involve them in preventing crime, he established a Community Watch program and has released information about incidents of crime to local newspapers and through a Facebook page found at Follansbee Community Watch.

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