MOUNT GILEAD — National Police Week prompted delivery of a generous amount of food and gift baskets to the Mount Gilead Police Department in honor of their service.
Adam Lakey has been chief since February 2021. Department leadership includes Lakey, Captain Tom Cronenwett, and Chase Beekman, who was recently promoted to sergeant. The department currently has seven officers serving 3,660 residents of Mount Gilead. They also have one part time and one auxiliary officer.
Lakey has served the department since 2010 and Beekman has been with the department since 2018. His father was also a police officer.
“I love this job. I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” Beekman said.
The officers were humbled by the gifts that were coordinated by Rex and Lena Davis.
“I went through it and there was probably $200 in gift cards, plus candy, drinks and more. This was a really nice gift from the community,” Lakey said.
Businesses contributing gifts included Duke & Duchess, Edison Quick Stop, Sam & Cooke, McDonald’s, Kroger, Goodwill, Subway, Edison Car Wash, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Discount Drug Mart, Purple Indian, End Zone and Dunkin Donuts.
Police department service can be demanding.
Methamphetamine is the perhaps the most significant concern facing the local department.
“The general public probably doesn’t really see just how many people in this town are using Meth,” Lakey said. “Second to that are things like domestic disputes.”
Lakey said his most rewarding opportunities, though, are any time he gets to help people, especially with incidents that aren’t even law enforcement related.
“The true joys of this job are getting to present to the kids at the school [career days or drug awareness, for example]. We’re building positive relationships with the kids and they grow up to be the adults that live here,” Lakey said.
“That day Lakey had been called to check on the resident.
“Her electric was working but her cable wasn’t. I stuck around to help her make a call to Spectrum,” he said.
Helping people is also rewarding for Beekman.
“In the summertime you see a pick-up game of basketball with kids and you go play a little basketball with them. Or, I had a lady that had a bat in her house and she wanted it out, so I got the bat out of her house for her. It’s the small things like that when someone has a problem and we can fix it that are rewarding,” Beekman said.
The Board of Morrow County Commissioners issued a proclamation for Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day that stated in part, “The Morrow County Commissioners of Morrow County, Ohio publicly salutes the service and honors the valor and dedication of all Police Officers, Deputy Sheriffs, and Law Enforcement Professionals of Morrow County, Ohio.”
National Police Week honors law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty and their surviving families. It also honors and supports current law enforcement officers.
Since last year, nine Ohio law enforcement officers died in the line of duty. More than 800 names are on the state memorial at the Ohio Peace Officers Memorial in London, Ohio and more than 22,000 names are listed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.