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Safety Board Meeting Minutes and Recordings 2020

Meeting Minutes

01-08-2020 Joint Town Council Safety Board

January 8, 2020 Special Joint Town Council and Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Swets called the St. John Town Council, Safety Board, Police Department, and Fire Department Joint Special Meeting to order on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at 1:02 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Councilmen present: Bryan Blazak, Councilman; Paul Panczuk, Vice President; Wayne Pondinas, Councilman; Michael Schilling, Councilman; and Gerald Swets, President.

Safety Board Members present: Steve DeJong, Richard Janowiak, Robert Kmetz, Patrick Moran, and Raymond Paradiso.

Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Fred Willman, Fire Chief; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer.

Absent: None.

A quorum was attained.

INTRODUCTIONS:

Mr. Swets directed everyone to give a quick introduction of themselves.

Ms. Hernandez is starting her second term as Clerk-treasurer and is looking forward to a collaborative relationship.

Mr. Schilling asserted that there are good men and women that work for this Town and under good leadership, all should go in a good direction.

Mr. Pondinas noted that he worked in Public Works for 15 years and is known as "The Waterman". He likened the process of the new board to rebuilding a house; walls will be taken down and new walls will be built with everyone being a part of it, which will be tremendous with everyone working together.

Mr. Blazak stated that he has been a resident of town since 1974 and became active about five years ago because he disagreed with the direction the town was going. He expressed that if everyone works together, all will be successful together.

Mr. Panczuk commented that he has lived in St. John for ten years. He is married to Heather, has two children and two stepchildren. He got involved in the Town because he wanted to see the town go in a different direction.

Mr. Swets explained that he became active because he wanted to help the residents have a little more input into what was going on and so everyone has an opportunity to express their ideas and opinions. We want to equip all the Town employees so that their voices count.

Mr. Janowiak has lived in St. John for 11 years, is a retired police officer with over 26 years of experience and wants to be a benefit and of service to the Police and Fire Departments.

Mr. Moran has lived in St. John since 2015 and has a wife, three children, and seven grandchildren. He expressed thanks to the Town Council for appointing him to the Safety Board. He has over 35 years of law enforcement experience and spoke a bit about that experience.

Mr. DeJong has lived in St. John for 12 years and is in his 20th year as a career firefighter. He expressed his desire to be part of the process to help make St. John better, fair, and equitable as it continues to grow.

Mr. Paradiso has lived in St. John for four years and was firefighter for 36 years. He expressed his desire to make things better for St. John and those who protect it.

Mr. Kmetz has lived in St. John for forty years, had a wife and two daughters, and works as a corporate controller for a large business in town and has been in the finance and HR field for over 30 years. He expressed his desire to bring his experience and the business side to the Safety Board.

Mr. Swets summarized that they put together a board with two members with firefighting experience, two with police experience, and one from the business sector for a well-rounded view of what is going on.

Mr. Swets turned the floor over to Chief Flores for his introductions.

Chief Flores thanked the Council for the opportunity to serve in such capacity. He has been a St. John Police Officer for almost 17 years and has 19 years of law enforcement experience. He expressed that this is about the Police Officers and expressed his desire to bring the department back to a place of enjoying working together. He is a resident of St. John with his wife, Gail; daughter, Alexis; and two stepdaughters. Chief Flores requested the meeting because he felt this would be a good start to have everyone meet each other and put a face with a name.

The members of the St. John Police Department introduced themselves: Brett Sidenbender, Patrol Division; Jan Kalinowski, Animal Control for four years; Amy Gross, Administrative Assistant since August 20, 2018; Roger Patz, retired Police Chief from Cedar Lake and works for St. John Police Department writing policy and maintains the training programs; Ron Olson, Corporal in Patrol; Luke Lukasik, Corporal in Patrol; Luke Zuzich, Patrolman; Tim Gardenhire, Patrol Division; Aaron Amptmeyer, came to St. John as an experience Police Officer last year; Paige Sickles, Police Officer since 2015; Jay Dahlin, Patrol Commander and has been an Officer for St. John for 22 years; Rich Fialkowski, Reserve Police Officer for 15 years and Fire Department for over 20 years; Clifford Wroe, Police Technology Director and has worked in law enforcement for 27 years with 18 in St. John; Joe O'Leary, Reserve Officer since 2001; Jeff Burke, 20 years as an Officer and started in St. John 3 months ago; Sam Jacobs, Patrol Division; Neal Olson, started in St. John about 3 months ago and has 5 years of experience; Shane Adams, has been with St. John about 13 years and is a K-9 Officer with his partner Match; Mike Moffitt, has been a volunteer Firefighter for 15 years, has been with the Police Department since 2003, and is a Corporal; Dave Demeter, Deputy Chief and started in 1987; Dave Rybicki, Corporal in Patrol and started as a Reserve Officer in 2004; Jake Patczke, Patrol Officer, started in Illinois in 2014 and started in St. John in 2016; Tim Smith, Reserve Officer for 19 years; Ronald Swets, Reserve Officer since 2011; Nick Stamate, St. John Police Officer for 19 years and currently the Student Resource Officer for Lake Central School Corporation; Dave Wortsman, Patrol Officer for 6.5 years; Arthur Sandaker, Patrol Officer in St. John for about 3 years, was with another department for a year before that, has lived in St. John his whole life, and considers it an honor to work here; and Chris Widen, 12 years law enforcement experience currently assigned to Investigations and Detective.

Chief Willman had the Firefighters introduce themselves: Jeremy Olson, Firefighter/Paramedic, started volunteering five years ago and is going on 2.5 years as a full-time; Robert VanKuiken, just started in St. John on the December 21st and came from Cedar Lake; Kevin LaDuke, has been with St. John since 2012, is a Battalion Chief Instructor and was in Chesterton for about 5 years before that.

Chief Willman stated that he is an old guy, which is an honor with this group of new people, who have fresh starts and fresh ideas; he has been associated with the St. John Fire Department for 39 years, starting as a volunteer, and has been the Chief for 24 years. He was the Fire Chief for 6 years as a volunteer and was the first full-time employee for the Fire Department, as Chief for 19 years. Chief Willman commented that it is exciting to be here in 2020. The first year he was on they ran 150 calls, last year they ran 1900. He reported that they have been successful because of the quality of the people he works with. At one time the department had 55 volunteers and now the volunteers have shrunk and we have 31 part-time employees and a number of full-time employees. He noted that the most important thing is that they are able to keep up with their demands.

Mr. Swets informed Chief Willman that the Council and Safety Board are eager to work with him to make the Fire Department greater and stronger.

NEW BUSINESS:

Department Goals and Upcoming Business: Chief Flores communicated goals and objectives that he would like to implement. Short-term plans include filling the vacancy created by the former Chief leaving and him being appointed as the next Chief, appointing a new detective to replace him in that spot, and add an additional officer for a total of 23 Officers. He noted that Dyer has approximately 18,000 residents with a force of 30 Officers; we have approximately 22,000 residents and currently have 21 Officers. In the long-term, he would like to see the force have about 30 Officers in total.

Chief Flores requested that an Employee-Assistance Program be considered, possibly for both the Police and Fire Departments. He would like to incorporate using a Domestic Violence Advocate and has been speaking with one who assists in other areas. He would like to have inhouse physical tactics training; there are several instructors on the force that are knowledgeable that could be utilized for training which would be a minimal cost, and they could partner in training with the Fire Department.

Chief Flores noted that he would like to get additional equipment. Short-term equipment requirements include a taser and an air card for each Officer.

Chief Flores is planning on cutting the hours of the Police Department Clerks Office; currently they are there 9-6 Monday through Friday and 9-1 every Saturday. Primarily, the business they do there can't be done unless the Clerk-Treasurer's Office is open. Another cost-cutting measure being considered is to cut some accreditations they belong to and put that money into the training budget.

Chief Flores would like to implement succession training to take someone under him to take over for his spot, the Deputy Chief under him should be ready to take over his spot, etc. He intends to encourage transparency and open input on how things will be done so that everyone feels they have a bit of ownership in how decisions are made. Lastly, he asserted that he wants to work on a establishing a 5-year plan with the Safety Board.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

Mr. Swets asked Chief Willman for closing remarks. Chief Willman stated that he is glad to be here and believes this will be a positive change.

Mr. DeJong inquired if there is currently no EAP. Chief Flores responded that there is; however, he would like it to be geared more specifically for Police and Fire.

Mr. Moran spoke about the Peer-Support Program that he went through in Chicago's, the one he helped form for the Evanston Police Department and offered to assist Chief Flores.

Mr. Swets invited everyone to hang around for a little bit after the meeting is adjourned to mingle and get to know each other a bit more.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Swets entertained a motion to adjourn. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to adjourn; Mr. Blazak seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 1:43 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

01-20-2020 Safety Board

January 20, 2020 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called the St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order on Monday, January 20, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Richard Janowiak, Robert Kmetz, and Patrick Moran. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Fred Willman, Fire Chief; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. Absent: Steve DeJong and Raymond Paradiso. A quorum was attained.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

President:

Mr. Moran nominated Richard Janowiak for President; Mr. Kmetz seconded the nomination. Hearing no further nominations, Mr. Janowiak called for a roll-call vote to elect Mr. Janowiak as President: Mr. Janowiak, aye; Mr. Kmetz, aye; Mr. Moran, aye. Nomination carried unanimously.

Vice President:

Mr. Janowiak nominated Robert Kmetz for Vice President. Mr. Janowiak called for a roll-call vote to elect Mr. Kmetz as Vice President: Mr. Janowiak, aye; Mr. Kmetz, aye; Mr. Moran, aye. Nomination carried unanimously.

Secretary:

Mr. Kmetz nominated Mr. Moran for Secretary. Mr. Janowiak called for a roll-call vote to elect Mr. Moran as Secretary: Mr. Janowiak, aye; Mr. Kmetz, aye; Mr. Moran, aye. Nomination carried unanimously.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to move the appointment of Corporal Rybicki to Patrol Commander to be heard next. Mr. Kmetz made a motion to move the appointment of Corporal Rybicki to Patrol Commander to be heard first; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Chief Flores spoke about Corporal Rybicki's history as a law-enforcement officer and requested the Safety Board consider approving the appointment of Corporal Rybicki to Patrol Commander. Mr. Kmetz made the motion to approve the appointment; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Chief Flores called upon Corporal Rybicki and presented him with his badge. The Safety Board and those present congratulated Corporal Rybicki on his promotion.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Chief Flores
From December 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 17,563 miles and responded to 568 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 24 arrests, with 49 charges being filed. There were 117 traffic citations issued, along with 159 written warnings, for a total of 276 citations being ¬¬¬¬issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled zero ($0), other thefts totaled $1,032, and recovered property totaled zero ($0). Chief Flores explained how the reports are generated and that "incidents" include everything from vacation checks to arrests and everything in between. In 2019, the Police Department had 14,038 incidents they responded to for the year.
B. Chief Willman
During the month of December 2019, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 156 requests for assistance. There were 128 calls in District 1, 16 calls in District 2, and 12 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Schererville, Fire/EMS; Lake Hills, Fire/EMS; Lake Ridge, Fire Department; and Cedar Lake, Fire/EMS. The Monday night activities for the month included: The first Monday of the month was the Business Meeting of the Volunteer Division. December 9 was an EMS in-service for medical emergencies brought on by exposure to severe cold weather and audit and review of ambulance transports with the Franciscan Health Crown Point pre-hospital care system. December 16 was an in-house work night to ensure the facilities and vehicles were ready for winter-weather activity. The last two Mondays, they took a break to celebrate the holidays. In December 2019, the St. John Fire Department made contact with 124 patients, approximately 75% were transported, and the other 25% either refused or did not require medical service. Transport totals included 82% life support, 18% basic life support; 61 of the 93 total transports were St. John residents with 32 non-resident transports.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Chief Flores
Chief Flores covered the following topics:

1. Emergency Hire Process:

They started the emergency hire process, which requires applicants to be Indiana Law Enforcement certified and a current member of the 1977 Pension Fund. Applications are due Friday, January 24. To date, approximately 60 employment applications were downloaded by potential applicants.

2. Interview Board and New Hire List:

The interview board consists of seven members from within the Police Department who will conduct interviews, and the top candidates will be brought before the Safety Board with a recommendation, and the Safety Board will have the authority to approve the new hires.

3. Hire a 23rd Officer:

Chief Flores would like to hire a 23rd officer as soon as possible and stated that the need is due to St. John's growth. Should the Town Council allow him to do so, he would like to initiate the process to have a two-year hire list ready to go.

4. Promotion Process:

Chief Flores expressed displeasure with the previous promotion process, noting that he and others in the department felt it was done incorrectly and unethically. Further, he conveyed a desire to dispose of that list and create a new list. Discussion ensued.

5. Minor Policy Changes:

Chief Flores noted that they made a few minor policy changes: Anything that had referenced the Police Commission now references the Safety Board. Beards are now allowed year-round within specific regulations. They changed the policy regarding ball caps. They are working at cleaning up the form of the orders, policies, and procedures.

Chief Flores commented that when it comes to major policy changes, they have a policy committee to review policies and ensure they are up to date according to state and federal laws.

6. Part-time Clerk:

They are accepting applications for a part-time clerk to fill an upcoming shortage. The hours are being changed that the Police Department will be manned with clerks. The new hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and the second Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

7. Abolish Accreditation:

Currently, they are accredited by the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police for policies, which is supposed to include an annual audit; however, none has been completed since St. John has been accredited through them. They are eliminating that accreditation and saving $3000 annually. Chief Flores noted that Roger Patz updates policies regularly as needed.

8. Stop Arm Violation Grant for the 2020-2021 School Year:

Chief Flores gave a brief overview of the grant, which pays officers to go out off-duty, monitor school busses, and enforce the stop arms to ensure no one is running the stop arms, and stated that they would be applying for the 2020-2021 school year.

9. Appointment of Public Information Officer:

Chief Flores requested that the Safety Board approve sending a recommendation to the Town Council to change the Salary Ordinance to reflect the position Roger Patz holds to "Training Manager / Public Information Officer"; this is a change in title only with no salary change. Mr. Moran made a motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to change Roger Patz' position title to Training Manager / Public Information Officer; Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

10. Ring Doorbell:

Chief Flores advised the Safety Board that they are in the process of working with Ring Doorbell regarding and use of their law-enforcement portal. Anyone who has a Ring Doorbell can subscribe to the Police Department. If something happens in their neighborhood, an alert can be sent out; they can be alerted, and if they have video footage, the department can be given access to that particular video footage. He further advised that he would provide more information at the next meeting.

B. Chief Willman

Chief Willman gave a brief overview of the current and future staffing needs of the Fire Department, training requirements, and administrative staffing needs. He addressed the pros and cons of having only nine full-time staff members and 34 part-time staff members. He stated that they are approaching 2000 calls annually, with 1898 calls in 2019, and that the residents deserve to have more protection. Chief Willman indicated that they do have a tenth full-time employee going through the hiring process at this time.

Chief Willman praised the work the St. John Fire Department members do; they are considered the best of the best. He indicated the potential need for another full-time administrative person, explaining that full-time firefighters are on for 24 hours then off for two days. If they are assigned a task they can't complete due to being out on calls all shift, it is a couple of days before they will be back, and things get missed.

Mr. Moran asked if Chief Willman is asking for a ranked administrator. Chief Willman responded that it should be discussed and stated that he would like their input. Mr. Janowiak commented that if someone gets ill or injured, his department would be in a hurt position.

Chief Willman concurred and affirmed that there are times that he has all part-time employees on a shift. He asserted that a firmer staffing foundation is needed and that a second fire department facility is needed.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Edward Conn (9227 West 91st Court): Good evening, gentlemen. First of all, Chief, I'm sorry to hear that we have staffing issues cause we were always led, as a public, that we were well-staffed 24/7, seven days a week, so that was a shock. Chief, I can't help – Chief Willman – can't help but listening to you – and I've sat in this room for the past 14 months listening to issues brought by the two leaders of the first responders; and I have to say, from the way you just described everything, it sounds like a leadership issue to me. The staffing, I – I've never heard you approach the previous commission requesting the things that you just put out there. I would hope that you would have control with your own men and women that you're able to sit down, discuss things properly, and work this out.

All I heard tonight was a cry for help, and it doesn't sound right. Anyway, I wanted to congratulate the Safety Board. Congratulations on your appointments as well as Chief on your new role. I stand here before this board but mainly direct my requests to Chief Flores. Chief Flores, back under the previous chief, James Kveton, in 2018 and 2019, you were the commander of detectives and directly dealt with a number of issues and/or investigations brought forward by numerous local political figures of the Town of St. John with regards to myself. Those officials would include Police Chief James Kveton, Police Commissioner Christian Jorgensen, Police Attorney John Reed, members of the Police Commission Speros Batistatos, Paul Haluska, Charles Sawyer, Michael Aurelio, and Town Council Liaison Rose Hejl and Michael Forbes. You're also aware of numerous complaints by your fellow officers with complaints of mistreatment, harassment, intimidation, and battery by Chief Kveton back in July of 2018. I believe that due to your new role as Chief, it could be looked at as a political move, either for or against an official investigation held by the Indiana State Police. I'm here, as a resident who's been dragged through the mud, and ask this investigation be forwarded for assistance from the Indiana State Police, which has no cost to the Town for their participation. Other members that are included, but not limited to, are from the previous Town Council as well in 2019, such as Mark Barenie, Gerald Swets, Michael Forbes, and Libby Popovic. Additional Town members include for public notice in 2019 were Steve Kil, Town Manager; Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney. All the above mentioned had been involved, sat in on, directed action, and investigations, filed complaints, threatened investigations by information requested and/or denied under the Freedom of Information Act, that include myself, yet denied of such requests.

In 2018 the Police Commission was compiled of Commissioner Rose Hejl, Paul Haluska, Charles Sawyer, Kevin Vana, and Robert Long. Once complaints started to come against Chief Kveton by members of his department, dating back to as early as March of 2018, all Police Commission meetings were canceled from September through December of 2018 and into January of 2019, all the while, hiding these complaints from July of 2018 through February of 2019 from the public and conducting personal investigations and countless executive meetings rather than reporting such events to a higher authority, such as the Indiana State Police because it involves a high-ranking figure, the Chief of Police.

In 2018, the council members were President Christian Jorgensen, Vice-President Mark Barenie, Secretary Michael Forbes, Gregory Volk, and Steve Hastings, who were also informed of said complaints, yet did nothing publicly to acknowledge anything until the February 2019 meeting. From the start of 2019, both the Police Commission and Town Council approved the hiring of an additional attorney, John Reed, to cover more complaints involving Kveton. In the February Police Commission meeting, we heard about the so-called "highly qualified investigator" such as Steve Pestikas, a former retired LEO, law enforcement officer, now living in Texas, was hired back in July due to the battery complaint. Mr. Pestikas is not, and I repeat, he is not a qualified investigator, nor is he registered as an investigator. Just because he's a former law enforcement officer does not qualify you as such, which should null and void in any and all investigations and determinations for punishment or dropped charges to Kveton and officers involved. They also hired a friend of Christian Jorgensen from law school, former Indiana State Trooper, and now divorce attorney in Kouts, Indiana, to investigate their own officers to see who was supposedly the mole in the department that was sharing information with me. Again, more lies, more waste of Town money just to harass myself and its own department with another non-qualified or non-registered investigator, Attorney Jerome Ezell.

Firefighter/EMT/Paramedic radios started going off, and several members of the Fire Department had to exit for an emergency call. Mr. Conn kept reading from his prepared remarks. Mr. Janowiak informed Mr. Conn that he had exceeded the three-minute time limit.

Mr. Conn stated that he wasn't aware there was a time limit. Mr. Janowiak responded that he forgot to announce it since he is new. Mr. Conn requested to finish reading, and Mr. Janowiak responded in the negative.

Mr. Conn replied, "Really?" Mr. Janowiak again responded in the negative.

Mr. Conn said, "So you're going to start off the way the other ones ended." Mr. Janowiak responded, "No."

Mr. Conn said, "Yeah, you are." Mr. Janowiak again responded, "No."

Mr. Conn said, "It shows right now because you have three out the five guys here; you have two people –" Mr. Janowiak asked Mr. Conn to please take his seat.

Mr. Conn continued, "– that couldn't even show up for the first meeting." Mr. Janowiak again asked Mr. Conn to please take his seat and asked if there was anyone else wishing to speak.

Mr. Conn continued, "Anyway, Chief, that's my request to you."

Mr. Janowiak called again for anyone else wishing to speak.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no one else coming forward to speak, Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to adjourn. Mr. Kmetz made the motion; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

02-28-2020 Safety Board

February 28, 2020 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called the St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order on Monday, February 28, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Steve DeJong; Robert Kmetz, Vice President; Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; and Fred Willman, Fire Chief. Absent: Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the January 8, 2020, Special Joint Town Council-Safety Board Meeting and the January 20, 2020, Meeting. Mr. Kmetz made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Paradiso seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Chief Willman
During the month of January, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 187 requests for assistance. There were 156 calls in District 1, 19 calls in District 2, and 12 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Lake Hills, Fire/EMS; Schererville, Fire/EMS; Crown Point, Fire/Rescue; and Cedar Lake, Fire/EMS.

The Monday night activities for the month included: The first Monday of the month was the Business Meeting of the Volunteer Division. January 13th was a training that covered a review of policies and procedures associated with confined-space rescues or challenges. January 20th was an EMS in-service regarding mandatory OSHA requirement addressing exposures to blood-borne pathogens in the workplace, which must be documented on an annual basis. January 27th was an indoor EVOC, Emergency Vehicle Operation Certification, class that covered a lectin session dealing with rules of the road and an overview of the skills and considerations associated with driving and positioning emergency apparatus, they will do an outside, behind-the-wheel practical training in better weather. January 2020, the St. John Fire Department made contact with 159 patients, 110 were transported, and the other 22 either refused. We had 26 lift assists. Transport totals included 75% life support, 25% basic life support; 72 transports were St. John residents, and 38 were non-resident transports.

B. Chief Flores
From January 1, 2020, through January 31, 2020, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 23,368 miles and responded to 574 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 28 arrests with 47 charges being filed. There were 218 traffic citations issued, along with 240 written warnings, for a total of 458 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled zero ($0), other thefts totaled $8,367, and recovered property totaled $50.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Chief Willman
Chief Willman gave personnel updates and some backgrounds. He updated the Board on the newest full-time employee, Robert VanKuiken, who brought the number of full-time Firefighter/Paramedics to eight and Firefighter/EMTs to one. He also updated the Board on the pending full-time status of Katelyn Diehl, noting that she is slated to be promoted to full-time status on March 14, 2020, pending acceptance into the '77 Fund at the state level. Once she is approved, that will bring the number of full-time Firefighter/Paramedics to nine. Chief Willman hopes to add at least two more part-time Firefighter/Paramedics. Currently, the department has approximately 30 part-time staffers that are state-certified Firefighters and are all certified Paramedics or EMTs.
B. Chief Flores
1. Emergency Hire List:
Chief Flores advised that the emergency hire list is to fill a vacancy created when the past chief left. He explained the internal process and the composition of the interview board, which consisted of seven of the department's sworn members of varying ranks. He reviewed the new hire list with the Board and requested they approve the same.

Mr. DeJong asked if it is common practice to interview their own candidates, stating that the practice of patrolmen interviewing patrolmen is strange to him. He further asked if that style of interviewing has been the common practice. Chief Flores stated that it is a new process that they tried this time, and he further stated that there are several departments in the area that use that same process.

Mr. DeJong stated that he knows the process was started before the Board was set; however, he would like the Board to be included in the interview process in the future. When it is done only internally, it makes it easy to pick and choose based on prejudices or word on the street rather than by criteria, which could be considered a less-than-fair process.

Mr. Janowiak asked where and how long the position was posted. Chief Flores responded that the post ran for about 2 1/2 weeks on the Town Website, through local agencies in Lake County, and on the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy's Website.

Mr. Moran asked if FTOs were involved and how long field training takes, Chief Flores responded that with an emergency hire, it depends on the officer hired. Officer Kaluf will be trained quickly, in approximately 3-4 weeks, because he is essentially learning the geography of the town plus our policies and procedures. A brand-new hire is a four-phase process that can take several months.

Mr. Moran asked if there was a probationary period, Chief Flores responded there is a one-year probationary period.

Mr. Moran made a motion to approve and certify the Emergency Hire List with an expiration date of February 24, 2021; Mr. DeJong seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

2. Approval of Emergency Hire Candidate:
Chief Flores requested that the board accept and approve the hire of Eric Kaluf.

Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the hiring of Eric Kaluf; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

3. Preapproval of a Second Emergency Hire Candidate:
Chief Flores advised that the Town Council approved funding for a 23rd officer, and he would like to get that done as soon as possible. Some details are being worked out, so he will present this to the Board at the next meeting.

Chief Flores agreed to email information about the other candidates to the Board.

4. Approval to Start a New Hire Process
Chief Flores requested approval to start a new-hire process to generate a candidate list, good for two years, in the event they get approval for an additional hire. It will be advertised in the same manner as the emergency hire list. There is more information required. The candidates are given about a month to a month and a half to turn in applications. Once the application submission process is closed, testing will begin shortly after that time.

When asked if an agency would be hired to do the testing, Chief Flores responded that they are looking around to see what kind of tests are out there. When asked if the Safety Board would be a part of the oral interview process, Chief Flores responded that if it is something they want to change, they will have to look at it, and he would like their involvement and input on it as well.

When asked how the general population could hear about it, Chief Flores responded that they could advertise it in the newspapers, on their Facebook page, and through other avenues as well.

Discussion ensued regarding a new hire list and an emergency hire list.

Mr. Paradiso made a motion to start the new hire process for a two-year hire list; seconded by Mr. DeJong. Motion carried unanimously.

5. Towing Contracts:
Chief Flores advised that the towing contracts have a new bid process annually. There are requests for proposals that were provided to the board for review, and he would like to officially put the RFPs out to the towing firms after the next meeting for bid award in April. Currently, they have towing contracts three towing companies.
6. Appointment of Acting Corporal
Chief Flores advised that Officer Zuzich is temporarily the Acting Corporal until the hires are set, then he will address the permanent promotion.
7. Part-time Clerk Update:
Chief Flores reported that they had hired one person who worked two days and submitted her resignation, so they will be hiring another part-time clerk to take her place.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Kmetz made a motion to adjourn; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously, and Mr. Janowiak adjourned the meeting at 6:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

03-16-2020 Safety Board Meeting Canceled
04-20-2020 Safety Board Meeting Canceled
05-18-2020 Safety Board

May 18, 2020 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order, which was attended virtually and in person, on Monday, February 28, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Steve DeJong; Robert Kmetz, Vice President; Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Fred Willman, Fire Chief; Craig Phillips, Town Manager; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. Absent: None. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the February 28, 2020, Meeting. Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. DeJong seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Chief Willman
During the month of April 2020, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 126 requests for assistance. There were 100 calls in District 1, 20 calls in District 2, and 6 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Schererville, Fire/EMS; Cedar Lake, Fire/EMS; and Lake Hills, Fire/EMS.

The specific Monday night activities for the Fire Department continued to be canceled during April 2020 due to the overwhelming public health concerns and restrictions associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic. It has crippled and almost paralyzed the entire nation. Access to the Public Safety Facility has been restricted to the general public with the exception of the main floor and second floor lobbies that provide a bulletproof barrier to protect employees that are on duty from any physical or airborne harm. Those barriers have been in place since the building was built. They continue to provide protection for employees and access for residents.

Volunteers/paid on-call members of the Fire Department are only permitted to respond to outdoor requests for assistance, such as structure fires, motor vehicle crashes, and other outside emergencies, such as violent storm damage or grass fires. This has been designed to protect everyone that we possibly can, St. John Fire personnel and also St. John Fire Department family members.

We have taken advantage of a decrease in calls and activity with both the full-time and part-time on-duty staff. Some of our senior staff members have spent several hours in the fire vehicles helping new members and new part-time members to become more familiar with the unique characteristics of the different emergency response vehicles in our fleet that has provided a chance for driver’s training, which does not always get the proper attention that it should. It also helps all of them to become more familiar with the new streets in our town.

In April, the St. John Fire Department EMS made contact with 99 patients, 66 were transported, 52 were ALS, and 14 were BLS. We had 8 lift assists. Transport totals included 50 transports who were St. John residents, and 16 who were non-resident transports.

A. Chief Flores
From April 1, 2020, through April 30, 2020, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 24,152 miles and responded to 370 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 6 arrests with 11 charges being filed. There were 18 traffic citations issued, along with 1 written warning, for a total of 19 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $262,199, other thefts totaled $4,405, and recovered property totaled $130,150.

The numbers have been low lately with everything that’s been going on with the Coronavirus. They have been limiting their contact as much as possible to stay safe. We are still enforcing traffic laws, but we weren’t working as many grants, and we basically limited it to stops that were absolutely necessary, in order to keep themselves safe.

The department did have a couple of scares with some of the officers being in contact with someone with COVID-19. One in particular was put on quarantine. He is fine and back to work. The other officers were okay as well, and no one had to be sent for testing, which was per physician’s care and advice.

We did have a few incidents where people were calling about certain places being open or people gathering at certain parks, but it wasn’t a vast amount. We are getting back in the swing of things and getting back into law enforcement and getting out there and enforcing more traffic laws.

We also started a task force with Schererville and Dyer due to an influx of car thefts and burglary to motor vehicles in the tri-town area, as well as throughout Lake County. A large group of people are coming here, going through cars, and stealing items. Family Express was robbed, and other gas stations in other jurisdictions were robbed. This task force was created to combat these issues.

The members of the task force are doing aggressive patrols looking for suspicious people and suspicious cars in all jurisdictions. The Sheriff and the Sheriff’s Department have gotten involved as well. Friday night, the task force had approximately 40 officers out, specifically for that alone, targeting neighborhoods all over the place trying to catch these people. We found a stolen car and three or four guns out of some cars. Later on in the morning, Hobart got into a pursuit with a truck that was believed to be associated with this group. It is working well, and the cooperation between the towns has been phenomenal.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Chief Willman
Chief Willman advised that he had no new businesses to address at this time.
B. Chief Flores
1. Approval of Second Emergency Hire Candidate:
Chief Flores requested that the board accept and pre-approve the hire of Darrell Shaffer.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the second emergency hire pending Town Council’s approval.

Mr. Moran made a motion to approve the hiring of Darrell Shaffer contingent on Town Council approval; Mr. Paradiso seconded the motion. Motion carried by roll-call vote.

Mr. DeJong Aye
Mr. Kmetz Aye
Mr. Moran Aye
Mr. Paradiso Aye
Mr. Janowiak Aye

2. Approval to Start a New Hire Process
Chief Flores stated that he is going to postpone the new-hire process with everything that is going on and hopefully schedule the process after July 4 when everything is due to be opened up by Governor Holcomb. Chief Flores noted that they will likely need to use Lake Central School for some of the testing process and doubts that they would be able to use that facility at this time.

Mr. DeJong asked if the Department would still be using Standard, the same company that was used before. Chief Flores responded in the affirmative.

3. Officer Kaluf Update
Chief Flores advised that Officer Kaluf is out on his own now and doing well.
4. Indemnity Agreement with the Town of Lowell
Chief Flores advised that the Indemnity Agreement for the Town of Lowell Range Use has been reviewed by the attorneys and commented that the charge for use of the range will come out of the Department’s training budget. He further advised that Mr. Janowiak’s signature is needed on the agreement as President of the Safety Board.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the Indemnity Agreement with the Town of Lowell for the use of their range

Mr. DeJong made a motion to approve the Indemnity Agreement with the Town of Lowell and authorize the Safety Board President to sign; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried by roll-call vote.

Mr. DeJong Aye
Mr. Kmetz Aye
Mr. Moran Aye
Mr. Paradiso Aye
Mr. Janowiak Aye

5. Towing Contracts:
Chief Flores advised that the towing contracts were up in April; however, since there has not been a meeting since that time, those need to be completed. The RFPs will go out to any towing firm that’s interested in providing towing services to the Town. They will have until June 5 to turn those in. Packets can be picked up from the Police Department, Monday through Friday from 8-4, from Amy Gross, Administrative Assistant.

Chief Flores will distribute those to the members for review, so the selections can be voted on at the next meeting. Currently the Town uses All Pro Towing in Schererville, Kubiak’s in St. John, and Stan’s in St. John.

When asked how the rotation is selected, Chief Flores responded that dispatch keeps a log of who is called and rotates through the list of towing companies.

Mr. DeJong asked if they have generally used three. Chief Flores responded that they typically have used two and stated that he feels three is too many. All Pro was added last year.

Mr. Janowiak asked if Chief Flores will be making a recommendation to the Safety Board. Chief Flores responded in the affirmative.

Attorney Decker asked for confirmation that the deadline for submissions is June 5. Chief Flores confirmed that submissions are due by 4 p.m. on June 5, and the awards will be approved and voted on at the June 15 meeting.

Mr. Moran asked how the officer who was in the wreck is doing. Chief Flores reported that she is doing fine. It was thought that her right hand was broken, but it ended up being temporary nerve damage from her hand hitting the computer where she couldn’t have full mobility of her hand. It is improving daily, and she is in therapy and nearly has full use of her hand.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve distribution of the RFPs for the towing contracts.

Mr. Paradiso made the motion to approve sending the RFPs; Mr. DeJong seconded the motion. Motion carried by roll-call vote.

Mr. DeJong Aye
Mr. Kmetz Aye
Mr. Moran Aye
Mr. Paradiso Aye
Mr. Janowiak Aye

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

Mr. Janowiak thanked all the Town employees in the Police and Fire Departments, the officers and firefighters are all out on the front line dealing with this while most of us weren’t. In addition, Mr. Janowiak thanked Mr. DeJong who was also out on the front line. It can be a dangerous situation, and he wanted to recognize and thank all of them.

Mr. Kmetz thanked all the front line workers as well.

Mr. DeJong thanked the Chiefs and stated that they have done a great job, as have the other Chiefs throughout the country, of keeping people safe, maintaining the critical needs for the community, and keeping their personnel safe.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak adjourned the meeting at 6:23 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

06-15-2020 Safety Board

June 15, 2020 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order, which was attended in person, on Monday, June 15, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Steve DeJong; Robert Kmetz, Vice President; Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Fred Willman, Fire Chief; Craig Phillips, Town Manager; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. Absent: None. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the May 18, 2020, Meeting. Mr. Kmetz made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Paradiso seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Chief Willman
During the month of May 2020, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 135 requests for assistance. There were 114 calls in District 1, 15 calls in District 2, and 6 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Schererville Fire/EMS; Lake Hills Fire/EMS; Steger Estates Fire Department, Crete, Illinois; and Crown Point Fire/Rescue.

The Monday night activities for the Fire Department during May 2020 followed the same patterns, guidelines, and disciplines away from the Fire Station that existed for the last 90 days or more. The Department continued with the driver’s training sessions with newer members.

There was no Business Meeting for the Volunteers who have been restricted to outside responses only. The last Monday was Memorial Day, which would have been cancelled in observance of this holiday.

The routine training agenda was totally supported with assignments from the library of virtual remote training. Regular members have 3 sessions to successfully complete each month. Officers have at least 4 sessions to complete each month.

The District 1 Firefighter Academy was at the Training Site beginning June 9, 2020. Their classes have been restricted due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. They have completed a high percentage of classroom assignments since the class began on February 25, 2020. They are now facing the practical-skills challenges and evaluations.

The Members have been working on upkeep and repairs both inside and outside the buildings of the property. Some of the neighboring departments in the MABAS Division have also reserved some days in the upcoming weeks while others have already started training.

Regarding EMS calls, the total number of transports were 99 patients with 75 being transported. ALS transports were 65 with BLS at 10 transports. Residents consisted of 72% and non-residents at 28% transport.

A. Chief Flores
From May 1, 2020, through May 31, 2020, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 23,018 miles and responded to 494 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 17 arrests with 36 charges being filed. There were 58 traffic citations issued, along with 34 written warning, for a total of 92 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $0, other thefts totaled $847, and recovered property totaled $30,000.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Chief Willman
1. Authorization for Request to Purchase New Replacement Skid for Brush Truck
The brush truck (#7571) is currently out of service. The engine is leaking oil due to a blown head gasket. The truck can be used, but only if there is no other alternative. It must be shut down rather than left idle as is the standard. The Town Mechanic provided two (2) options to Chief Willman. The first option would be to replace the engine and add new stainless couplings estimated between $12,000 and $13,000. This work would be performed by Fire Service in St. John. The second option would be to replace the entire skid with an estimated cost of $16,650 by Fire Service.

The brush truck is a 2000 GMC 1-ton pickup with 4WD and having 12,600 miles. The Fire Department bought the truck new and it is 20 years old. Chief Willman recommended the new skid in the second option.

Chief Willman continued to explain that the truck responded considerably more than it does today, but there are times when they still need to provide a smaller off-road vehicle. Previously, they would remove the skid in the winter and plow snow with the truck. This no longer occurs, however, they use the new pickup to plow and send it with the ambulance during severe winter weather. Funds are available for the purchase and installation. Chief Willman stated that this purchase requires Town Council support. The Cumulative Fire Equipment Fund has a balance over $400,000. It would take approximately six (6) weeks for the equipment to arrive at Fire Service.

Mr. Janowiak asked if this was a bid or a price from one company. Chief Willman explained that this is an estimate from Fire Service where they have the majority of work performed. He can get more prices, but most work is done at Fire Service due to the location and warranty matters. Mr. Janowiak was not aware of the Town’s policy, and even if they approved the purchase, it would still have to go through the Town Council. He was not aware if the “Board” would require more bids or if there would be a delay in the time. At this amount of money, Mr. DeJong recommended three (3) bids to make sure it is fair and equitable along with the Town’s purchasing policy.

Mr. Phillips added that if the purchase is over $25,000, that is correct; it requires a bid. Discussion ensued regarding clarification of the two quotes for the skid. Chief Willman confirmed that he was recommending the skid replacement at $16,650 rather than the first option from $12,000 to $13,000. There are one of two ways to fix the matter. Mr. Phillips added that this would then qualify for three (3) quotes because they are separate options. Chief Willman will pursue the three (3) quotes per recommendation by Town Manager Phillips.

2. Authorization for Request to Purchase New Cardiac Monitor Replacement for Zoll Model in Service on Non-Transport Command Vehicle
Chief Willman stated that this monitor is the last of four to be replaced and upgraded. A monitor is required for ALS treatment. There is one monitor in each transport vehicle and one in the command vehicle that also responds to ALS calls. This current monitor was a reconditioned demo unit and added to the command vehicle for two purposes. The first was to increase the ability for immediate response to critical patient needs if the other three vehicles were already committed. The second reason was to have a spare if one of the other three units became inoperable. The estimate from Stryker was included. The Department used to have Zoll monitors, and when it was time to replace them, staff would compare the two models for 60 to 90 days. This was to ensure that their needs were met for the patients. Chief Willman stressed that due to the specific qualifications of a cardiac monitor, it would be difficult to get quotes. The Department requested to remain with the monitor manufacturer as quoted. It was also advised to maintain uniformity in the equipment for the Paramedics.

The quote is for PhysioControl that is current and accurate, and it meets all protocols and operations of the other three monitors. The quote price is for $32,061.96. Sufficient funds are available in both the Cumulative Fire Fund, which can be used for EMS equipment, and the Ambulance Capital Replacement Fund with a balance of $60,000. Generally, such a purchase would originate from the latter fund, but due to COVID-19 purchase requirements, the Cumulative Fire Fund can be justified. The manufacturer of the current Zoll model will only be supporting maintenance for a limited time as well. The other monitor units are aged at 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years. Based on the number of patients, the unit longevity is approximately 7 years.

Discussion ensued with the Board concerning the specifics of the equipment qualification and needs. Mr. DeJong recommended that a “sole proprietor” statement be submitted to the “Board” thus justifying waiver of the bid process. Mr. DeJong was aware of the particular requirements concerning cardiac monitors and reiterated the need for a “sole proprietor” statement for the vendor’s unit. Equipment consistency was noted as sound judgement by Mr. Janowiak. Chief Willman will work on the statement.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the purchase as recommended by Chief Willman for $32,061.96 with the “sole proprietor” statement.

Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the purchase as stated; Mr. DeJong seconded the motion. Motion carried by roll-call vote.

Mr. DeJong Aye
Mr. Kmetz Aye
Mr. Moran Aye
Mr. Paradiso Aye
Mr. Janowiak Aye

3. Request to Promote Robert Wahlman from Part-Time Firefighter/EMT to Part-Time Firefighter/Paramedic
Chief Willman explained that Mr. Wahlman was qualified and released by St. Anthony’s training in April 2020. There was a misunderstanding concerning the authority for hiring and promoting, therefore, Chief Willman wrote a letter on April 14 with his first request. It was still not clear as to the authority for promoting staff as time progressed with the change to a Safety Board. Mr. Wahlman has done an excellent job, and Chief Willman has kept track of his schedule for back pay.

Mr. Janowiak asked about the previous process for hiring and promoting. Chief Willman explained that he received input from staff who trained and worked with the prospective employee. An interview would be conducted by Chief and references checked. A letter would then be submitted to the Town Manager listing the prospective employee’s PSID number and qualifications. The letter was signed and taken to the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office for payroll purposes. Brief discussion ensued regarding the dates of April 11 and April 14. Mr. Paradiso added that he did not have an issue with Mr. Wahlman’s promotion. He did ask if there are any state-issued tests required in Indiana. Chief Willman stated that the EMS Director is connected with St. Anthony Hospital. He does not proceed with hiring or promoting until the release is provided from the Director as to the qualifications. Mr. Paradiso explained that in Illinois the process does not continue until notice by the state. He did not want this situation to happen again to our Department. Chief Willman mentioned that St. Anthony is the same way. He added that he wrote the letter dated April 14 only after receiving the notification for Mr. Wahlman’s qualifications to be a Paramedic.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the promotion of Robert Wahlman from Part-Time Firefighter/EMT to Part-Time Firefighter/Paramedic with a back-date of April 11, 2020.

Mr. DeJong made a motion to approve the promotion as stated; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried by roll-call vote.

Mr. DeJong Aye
Mr. Kmetz Aye
Mr. Moran Aye
Mr. Paradiso Aye
Mr. Janowiak Aye

4. Request to Promote Robert Van Kuiken from Probationary Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic to Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic
Mr. Van Kuiken was hired December 21, 2019 and began his promotion period. He will successfully complete this period as of June 21, 2020. The next two-week pay period runs from June 20 to July 3, 2020. Chief Willman is requesting Mr. Van Kuiken’s promotion to Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic effective June 21, 2020.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the promotion of Robert Van Kuiken from Probationary Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic to Full-Time Firefighter/ Paramedic.

Mr. Kmetz made a motion to approve the promotion as stated; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried by roll-call vote.

Mr. DeJong Aye
Mr. Kmetz Aye
Mr. Moran Aye
Mr. Paradiso Aye
Mr. Janowiak Aye

5. Recommendation to Create an Updated Qualified Candidates List for Full-Time Position as a Firefighter/Paramedic
Chief Willman explained that it has been over six months since the Department created a resource list for hiring additional staff or replacing open positions. The list has been depleted to the point where they would be left in a vulnerable position if having to rely on it exclusively for replacements. There were nine previously, five of which were Paramedics and four were EMTs. There are no Paramedics available on the current list as two were hired by the Department, and the others moved on.

Mr. Paradiso agreed that there should be a list of qualified people. Mr. Moran asked about the age of the prior list. Chief Willman answered it was about six months. It started in September. Mr. Van Kuiken and another current Paramedic were on that list. Mr. DeJong questioned what the state law and statute states as far as the list, and can we expire a list that is not expired by state statute to rehire and obtain more Paramedics. Mr. Paradiso said that he does not have any on the list now. Mr. DeJong wanted to know what the state statute said regarding home-rule versus non-home-rule. He continued explaining that it was not fair to exhaust the list when others are on it regardless of being a Paramedic or an EMT. Mr. DeJong believed that creating a new list would violate an equal opportunity employment standard. The question remained after brief discussion. Chief Willman will review the matter further.

6. Approval to Repeat Previous Procedures and Requirements Associated with Establishing an Eligibility List for Hiring Additional Employees
Chief Willman mentioned that this item could be skipped as per conversation concerning Item #5. Mr. Kmetz asked what the process was for hiring employees. Chief Willman explained that there is a list of qualifications. There is advertising and application acceptance; this is all new due to the pension plan as the current ones (employees) where hired in and previous (employees) were transferred in. All the applications are logged and a written test is completed. Interviews follow with various supervisors and a recommendation is provided; an order on a list. There is a physical agility test, previously at the Training Site, but now there is a nationally-recognized physical for six months or a year. There is a card issued for this as well. The concern remains if the previous process is retained or perhaps interviews are now conducted by the Safety Board. Chief Willman administers the written testing that occurs at the Fire Station. The current testing vendor is Industrial Organization of Oak Brook, Illinois. Advertising takes place in the local papers, Facebook, and Lake County Fire Chiefs’ Association to name a few resources.

The Fire Department is creating a Facebook page that can be used for future hiring. Mr. DeJong stated this should be deferred until the next meeting as there is a current and active list. The state law needs to be examined.

7. Request to Hire Scott Clifford, a St. John Fire Dept. Volunteer Member, as a Part-Time (Hourly) Firefighter/EMT
Understanding noted on agenda that Scott Clifford will continue his commitment as a Volunteer Member, and provide availability for 12-hour and 24-hour tours of duty. He will be paid hourly, rather than per incident, when on duty for such shift assignments.

Mr. Clifford is an active, responding volunteer member of the Department. He has been a Certified FF I/II for two years and a NR-EMT for one year. The volunteers have been a valuable asset during its history, and the Town pays for their EMT school. They receive similar training, but not as stringent, as with the Full-Time. Mr. DeJong asked what the selection process was from volunteer to part-time. Chief Willman explained that the only part-time volunteers are also EMTs or Paramedics. There is no position on the Department consisting of a Part-Time Firefighter only. They have to be a Firefighter/EMT or a Firefighter/Paramedic. Although, someone could just be a Volunteer Firefighter and respond to such calls as car wrecks or fires.

Mr. DeJong asked if all Volunteer Firefighter EMT or Paramedics are also part-time. Chief Willman answered no; only those who want to. Mr. DeJong emphasized if it was a request from the Volunteer. Chief said yes as in the case of Mr. Clifford who came to him requesting this. Those that are interested and go through school are given every opportunity. Mr. Paradiso then asked if Mr. Clifford had any interest in going on from an EMT to a Paramedic. Chief Willman answered no due to Mr. Clifford’s current employment and family status; he couldn’t imagine that Mr. Clifford would. There have been instances where Volunteer EMTs became Paramedics, but remained as a Volunteer.

Mr. Paradiso asked what the requirements for an ambulance are. Chief Willman answered that it was one EMT and one Paramedic. There are usually more than what the “system” requires.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the hire of Scott Clifford as a Part-Time (Hourly) Firefighter/EMT.

Mr. DeJong made a motion to approve the hire as stated; Mr. Paradiso seconded the motion. Motion carried by roll-call vote.

Mr. DeJong Aye
Mr. Kmetz Aye
Mr. Moran Aye
Mr. Paradiso Aye
Mr. Janowiak Aye

Town Manager Craig Phillips took a moment to clarify the Town’s purchasing policy. Any purchase over $4,000 is approved by the Town Council; between $4,000 and $20,000, Town Council determines if they want quotes; above $20,000 up to $150,000 requires quotes; and above $150,000 requires a bid. Chief Willman will need to submit the paperwork for a request to purchase for the Town Council. It is then up to the Council to decide whether the purchase is made. Mr. Kmetz asked if they should be dealing with the purchases. Mr. Phillips said that this is all new to them regarding a Safety Board. He referred the matter to Attorney Decker. Attorney Decker added that the ordinance states the Safety Board has oversight of the Fire and Police Departments. The generalization would make sense for the Board to be informed of such purchases for recommendation or no recommendation to the Town Council.

Mr. Phillips repeated the step for further clarity; purchases would come to the Safety Board for their recommendation. It would then be up to the Town Council to determine if they want quotes for the $16,650 skid. The $32,061.96 monitor would also be determined by the Council for quotes as is suggested in the Town’s purchasing policy.

B. Chief Flores
1. Towing Contracts – Opening and Review
Chief Flores explained that a legal notice was sent out to the Post Tribune and the Times. Proposal packets were obtained by Stan’s Towing, Kubiak Service, Tom & Ed’s Autobody, and All Pro Towing. Proposals were then submitted by Stan’s Towing, Tom & Ed’s Autobody, Kubiak Service, and All Pro Towing. Four (4) proposals were received by the Safety Board to review and make recommendation to the Town Council at their July meeting. Chief Flores would consult with President Janowiak regarding a time for review of the packets.
2. Officer Shaffer Update
Chief Flores stated that Officer Shaffer has been going through his FTO (Field Training). He is an experienced Officer basically learning the geography of the Town. Chief added that Shaffer would not be in training much longer and probably will be able to go out on his own in a couple weeks.
3. New Hire Process
Chief Flores explained that he prepared some tentative dates based on the last meeting. June 19, 2020 will be the advertising date, which would help to establish a hiring list good for two (2) years. The Department does not have a current list. This would be if someone wanted to choose law enforcement for a career and be listed from the point where they get certified up to two (2) years later. Sources for advertising were listed as Facebook, Town’s website, and Police Academy among others.

July 11, 2020 would be a tentative mandatory orientation at the Police Station Training Room. A brief synopsis of the Department would be discussed and applications would be handed out. The agility test would be August 8 in the high school gym and the track field. The written test would be August 22 at 8:00 a.m. Interviews would tentatively follow from September 7 to September 11, 2020. The Safety Board is welcome to come to the orientation, the agility test, the written test and interviews.

Chief Flores will email the Board a copy of the Application Hiring Process as soon as he has a definite date for the agility test. Stanard & Associates would be the test used for the new hires. Mr. Janowiak added that a couple Board Members would probably like to be at the interviews and have some questions to ask. Mr. DeJong asked, once this list is established and posted, if it would be the primary hiring list. Chief Flores affirmed that this is correct.

Mr. Phillips asked President Janowiak if the Board wanted to take any action on the purchases. Mr. DeJong suggested making a motion that it goes forward to the Town Council.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to recommend the purchase of the new replacement skid for the brush truck at $16,650.

Mr. Moran made a motion to recommend purchase as stated to the Town Council; Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion. Motion carried by roll-call vote.

Mr. DeJong Aye
Mr. Kmetz Aye
Mr. Moran Aye
Mr. Paradiso Aye
Mr. Janowiak Aye

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to recommend purchase of the new cardiac monitor replacement for the Zoll monitor on the non-transport command vehicle in the amount of $32,061.96.

Mr. Paradiso made a motion to recommend purchase as stated to the Town Council; Mr. DeJong seconded the motion. Motion carried by roll-call vote.

Mr. DeJong Aye
Mr. Kmetz Aye
Mr. Moran Aye
Mr. Paradiso Aye
Mr. Janowiak Aye

Regarding the Police Hire List, Chief Flores further explained to Mr. DeJong that if a current Officer retired, the list could be used for replacement, or they would have the option for an emergency hire.

Mr. DeJong stated that he still believes the Board needs to discuss the process for hiring. He is not always in favor of reverting to an emergency hire when they have a list of qualified applicants who have gone through the testing procedure. Mr. Moran said he was also in agreement with Mr. DeJong.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Andy Tolka, 1225 Birch Drive, Schererville – is the owner of Tom & Ed’s Autobody, second generation, and wanted to thank everyone for their consideration. They applied 10 years ago and would appreciate if they were able to join St. John for towing services.

Jim Ford, representing Mill Creek Community, St. John – wanted to provide information regarding safety and initiative being driven with the current Council and Mr. Tippy as far as safety for Fire, Police and EMS; having only one way to egress and ingress via 231. Olthof Builders has not finished Mill Creek Road, which would go out to Parrish Avenue. It is very difficult to turn left onto 231, especially during the morning and afternoon hours.

Mr. Ford also provided some metrics; there is a good population of senior drivers coming from The Gates, and the Christian school with an enrollment of 600 people with no bus service. There is also bus service to the Cedar Lake school system; about 6 to 8 buses daily. The Mill Creek Community is moving up towards 400 people with about 70 children. Construction traffic still comes through one way, and laborers move in and out quite aggressively, especially at closing hours. He has been working with Councilman Swets and Commissioner Tippy regarding the move of Mill Creek out to Parrish. He also had Ms. Hernandez enter this information into the meeting minutes to present to the Council in June.

Mr. Ford added that an informal time study was performed for a public safety point of view. Driving from Family Express on 231 to Park Place, up Mill Creek, and out to the last townhome that is currently being built, takes about 2 minutes and 40 seconds with time being relative as to staying with the speed limit. Of course, Fire and Police are expediting that, but with time being relevant, that same distance going down Parrish to Mill Creek to that townhome is 15 seconds. You can see the urgency regarding safety. Our concern is also with the number of children in the neighborhood, and they are at, at least in his phase, 100% built. The second phase, all combined, is about 80% built. Olthof will not give them a firm plan when the road is going to be put in. He understands the PUD expiration to be this November. Mr. Ford is asking for the Safety Board’s support to have this road put in.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak adjourned the meeting at 7:01 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

07-20-2020 Safety Board

July 20, 2020 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order, which was attended in person, on Monday, July 20, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Steve DeJong; Robert Kmetz, Vice President; Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Fred Willman, Fire Chief; and Attorney Adam Decker representing the St. John Safety Board. Absent: Craig Phillips, Town Manager; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison at roll call*. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the June 15, 2020, Meeting. Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Chief Willman
During the month of June 2020, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 143 requests for assistance. There were 113 calls in District 1, 20 calls in District 2, and 10 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Schererville Fire/EMS; Lake Hills Fire/EMS; and Dyer Fire Department.

The Monday night activities for the Fire Department during June 2020 included the June 1 monthly Business Meeting for the Volunteer Division of the Fire Department. June 8 was the Department’s first opportunity to safely return to organized group training activities. The attending members went to the Training Site and participated in a hands-on review of operations associated with handling fire hose, hose-lays, and the most effective hose streams that apply to various conditions created by the fire needing to be contained and extinguished.

June 15 was an EMS skills night that also included a lecture on warm weather emergencies and challenges. June 22 followed with a work night to catch up on our normal summertime schedule that had been postponed due to the pandemic restrictions. June 29 was the classroom portion of the annual Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC).

Regarding EMS calls, the total number of transports were 114 patients with 73 being transported. ALS transports were 64 with BLS at 9 transports. Residents consisted of 73% and non-residents at 27% transport.

*Town Council Liaison Michael Schilling appeared at 6:04 p.m.

A. Chief Flores
From June 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 21,477 miles and responded to 716 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 16 arrests with 28 charges being filed. There were 183 traffic citations issued, along with 183 written warnings, for a total of 366 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $0, other thefts totaled $31,050, and recovered property totaled $0.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Chief Willman
1. Request to Consider a Part-Time Firefighter/Paramedic – Ronald Swets
Chief Willman explained that Mr. Swets is a resident of St. John, a Paramedic in Illinois for 25 years, and a Certified Firefighter in Illinois for 35 years. Currently, he is an active Reserve Officer with the St. John Police Department since November 2011. He is being sponsored by St. Mary’s EMS system in Hobart. St. John must agree to sponsor him to practice with Franciscan Health in Crown Point before they will offer testing requirements to qualify. St. John will not be able to hire him until he successfully qualifies in Crown Point. Chief Willman provided a good reference for Mr. Swets stating that he has worked well with the Departments side-by-side.

Chief Willman also continued by describing the next item on the agenda being the request to consider the re-hire of Part-Time Firefighter/EMT Mark Olson. Mr. Olson has been a Certified Firefighter since 1994 with Lakes of the Four Seasons. He moved to St. John in 2004 and joined the Department shortly thereafter. He has been an EMT since 2006 and was hired as a Part-Time Firefighter/EMT in 2007. Chief Willman believes that the Department could benefit greatly from Mr. Olson’s energy and expertise. Mr. Olson remained active with them but, his career and family took precedence. His is able to continue serving in the Part-Time Firefighter/EMT capacity once again.

Mr. Moran noted that the requests to hire are separate items on the agenda. Mr. Janowiak asked the Board if there were any questions; there were none. Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion for the hiring of Ronald Swets as a Part-Time Firefighter/Paramedic.

Mr. Paradiso made the motion to hire Mr. Swets as a Part-Time Firefighter/Paramedic. Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by voice vote.

2. Request to Consider a Part-Time Firefighter/EMT – Mark Olson
Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to hire Mark Olson as a Part-Time Firefighter/EMT based on Chief Willman’s discussion in New Business, Item 1.

Mr. DeJong made the motion to hire Mr. Olson as a Part-Time Firefighter/EMT. Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by voice vote.

3. Update on Request to Purchase New Cardiac Monitor
Chief Willman stated that at the June 15, 2020 meeting a recommendation was made to purchase the new (LIFEPAK 15) cardiac monitor, and to include a “sole-source provider” statement with the request to purchase for the Town Council. This information was delivered to the Clerk-Treasurer and will proceed to the Town Council. Chief Willman anticipates this matter to be considered at the Council meeting on Wednesday, July 22.
4. Update on Request to Purchase New Skid for Brush Truck
Chief Willman made further contact with Fire Services regarding the new skid for the brush truck. According to the recommendation made by the Board at the previous meeting, a unanimous vote was made for the quoted replacement of the skid at $16,650 that also goes to the Town Council.
5. New Hire Process
Chief Willman contacted Attorney Decker concerning this matter. The Attorney forwarded him an excerpt from the current Town Personnel Policy, which does not mirror the procedures of the Fire Department for the past 20 years. It begins with the Town Manager being tied almost exclusively to the process. Chief Willman would like to establish a new policy that would be in place with what they’ve been doing, and then see if the Board would agree.

The policy, according to the Town Personnel Policy, begins with a 5-day notice to hire, and then offering to an interested candidate among the Town’s roster. The Fire Department has not hired in this manner. Chief’s question last month was concerning the involvement of the Safety Board with the interview process and related. He would like to proceed with creating a new hire list, more equitable, definitely legal, and put this matter to rest. As far as the current list, it is not totally exhausted. There are at least two (2) who have received Paramedic certifications since then as he was aware one of the main concerns was not to eliminate the resources before the years concluded. However, they never posted it or identified a length of time. A couple employees are actively searching to go to another department, which will cause St. John to be short-handed. Chief believes they need to go with a new hire list, but it should be revamped and accurate. He added that there are three (3) candidates on the list who could qualify and stay on the list.

Mr. Janowiak asked for clarification concerning the posting of the hire list. Chief Willman explained that there was no expiration date on the list. He added that they began hiring on December 21, which would have been Mr. Van Kuiken, and then the next candidate could not pass the physical. The next two (2) candidates already accepted jobs elsewhere. Next on the list was a candidate who was offered a position on December 23. Chief added that this list was created by October. There was one candidate who had never taken the test. Another candidate took the test, but chose not to pursue the position. Three (3) more candidates would remain on the list; two (2) of them had passed the Paramedic training since. The last five (5) were EMT’s. He concluded that one more candidate anticipates taking the test.

There was some further discussion among the Safety Board and Chief Willman concerning the clarification of the list posting and testing. Chief Willman stated that the Department never officially posted the list or placed a date on the list. He has records for the testing dates. October 30, 2019 was the creation of the list. Testing/scheduling occurred shortly thereafter. The hire list was an internal list. It was reiterated that the list was not posted, nor had an expiration date been included on this list.

Mr. DeJong stated that, for the sake of fairness, those currently on the list should be offered the position as they tested for it. They can either accept or decline. The Department would eventually exhaust the list, and then a new list can be established. Mr. DeJong also stated that there has to be a formal process established. The Town Personnel Policy conflicts with what the Fire Department has been practicing; consistency needs to be in place. Mr. Janowiak questioned the state laws concerning the Safety Board. Attorney Decker answered that such laws would not apply to the Town Board of Safety. Laws may differ for a town versus a city for Paramedics and Firefighters concerning a hire list. Mr. Janowiak agreed with Mr. DeJong that the hire list conflicts need to be eliminated, and agreed with the validity of the existing list. Chief Willman agreed with the change and conferred with surrounding departments about their policies as well.

Mr. Moran asked if there was an opening for a Full-Time Firefighter. Chief Willman said there was discussion, but there is not an opening at this time. There was a proposal submitted for the budget that is contingent on the Town Council. Mr. Moran asked how they would get around exhausting the current list. Chief said he was concerned that there will be a couple openings in the near future. Two (2) employees received offers, so they are deciding whether or not to stay in St. John. There has been no verbal or written commitment at this time. Mr. Moran asked at what point the new testing procedure would be started when the current list has yet to be exhausted. Chief Willman said he would contact those on the list to see if they were available. Previously, they were not available. Chief Willman would like to finish the list, so there is no problem.

Discussion ensued regarding the existing list and the availability of potential candidates. The issue presented was the lack of the expiration date on the list, and the silence within the state law on this matter. Attorney Decker said there was no restriction for the Town Board of Safety. All participants at the meeting wanted to see a new procedure. Liaison Michael Schilling spoke concerning the expiration date. He asked if the Board could place December 31, 2020 on the current list, and then start a new process to take effect January 1, 2021 having a 1-year or 2-year expiration date. The Police Department has a 2-year expiration date. The Firefighters are now involved with the Police and Fire Pension whereas they have not done this in the past. The civilian employees follow the Town Personnel Policy concerning matters of job openings. The Firefighters would then mirror the Police Department for the hire list process. Mr. Moran inquired with Attorney Decker concerning the appropriateness of a motion for an expiration date of December 31, 2020 on the hire list. Attorney Decker concurred.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion for the existing hire list to expire December 31, 2020.

Mr. Moran made the motion to allow the current Fire Department hire list, as discussed by Chief Willman, to expire December 31, 2020. Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by voice vote. Attorney Decker recommended to the Board that a formal motion was not necessary to discuss and formulate hiring policies with Chief Willman. Once presented to the public, and the Board as a whole, the policies could be approved to move forward.

B. Chief Flores
1. Towing Proposals – Review and Recommendation
Chief Flores explained that a couple corrections had to be made by two (2) towing firms. Attorney Decker reviewed all proposals, which complied with the ordinance and proposal. Attorney Decker also concurred. Mr. Janowiak had the proposals before him this evening for Board review. Chief Flores reviewed year-to-date data on the towing services. There have been three (3) firms on the list with the Department: Kubiak Service, Stan’s Towing, and All Pro Towing. All Pro is the newest firm. Prior to this selection, Kubiak and Stan’s were the chosen firms, and at one time, St. John Auto was on the schedule.

Chief Flores continued by stating that there have been 128 totals for the year, averaging eighteen (18) tows per month with six (6) tows per firm. The data reflects it is relatively low per company. He believes that two (2) firms are enough and can adequately cover the needs of the Town. He recommended Kubiak Service and Stan’s Towing. Mr. Moran asked what occurs when there is a heavy-duty truck situation. Chief answered that Stan’s has heavy-duty wreckers. Both firms have been used for many years and have worked well. Historically, there have been two (2) firms handling the services. Mr. Kmetz agreed that historically there have been two (2) firms used.

Mr. Janowiak stated that he was abstaining from the process. He did not read the procedures, the processes, or the proposals whatsoever. He then entertained a motion to recommend Stan’s Towing and Kubiak Service per Chief Flores.

Mr. Paradiso made the motion concurring with Mr. Janowiak that it was to recommend this matter to the Town Council. Mr. DeJong seconded the motion. Motion carried 4 to 0 in favor by voice vote. Mr. Janowiak abstained.

Mr. Schilling confirmed that the final decision would be made at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, July 22.

2. Officer Shaffer Update
Chief Flores reported that Officer Shaffer is doing well and on his own. He is a veteran officer who has comprehended the Town’s geography well
3. New Hire Process Update
Chief Flores reported that there were about 62 applicants as of the afternoon. There have been many phone calls and inquiries received. Many new people are showing interest. The agility test is scheduled for August 8 at 8:00 a.m. and will be located at Clark Middle School. There will be instructors present from the Police Academy. The Safety Board Members were invited to attend the event. Push-ups, sit-ups, and the jump will be held inside the gym and the run will be outside on the track. There will be a 300 meter run, and a mile and a half run. Social distancing will be practiced. Application deadline is July 29. The Indiana Law Enforcement Academy standards are used for the testing.
4. Recommendation of Resolution No. 2020-07-22A to Town Council – A Resolution Supporting Our Police Department and “Police Appreciation Day”, and All Matters Related Thereto
Chief Flores reported that Thursday, July 23 is Police Appreciation Day. Jeff Fryzel, a Town resident, has been conducting this event for about six (6) years. This is a show of appreciation for officers regarding the work they do throughout the years, throughout the country, and this county. He does this annually, beginning at Lake Central High School, with a procession of police, fire, and emergency vehicles, and then concludes at Patrician Hall in Schererville. There are some guest speakers, live music, and recognition of officers.

There is a recommendation of Resolution No. 2020-07-22A on the agenda that recognizes July 23, 2020 as Police Appreciation Day. Mr. Moran read a message, “As a retired police officer, I would like to say this; to the men and women in law enforcement, especially here in St. John, I know it’s tough out there. Stay strong and be safe. Thank you for serving and protecting our community, and know that you are truly appreciated.”

Mr. Janowiak included the Fire Department with that statement. Chief Flores expressed his appreciation and gratitude as well. He commented that the Police and Fire Departments work well together. Chief Willman added that the relationship is stronger now.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to recognize Thursday, July 23, 2020 as Police Appreciation Day. Mr. Kmetz made the motion to present Resolution No. 2020-07-22A to the Town Council. Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by voice vote.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak adjourned the meeting at 6:43 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

08-17-2020 Safety Board

August 17, 2020 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order, which was attended in person, on Monday, August 17, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Robert Kmetz, Vice President; Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Fred Willman, Fire Chief; and Attorney Adam Decker representing the St. John Safety Board. Absent: Steve DeJong, Board Member; Craig Phillips, Town Manager; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the July 20, 2020, Meeting. Mr. Kmetz made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Paradiso seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Chief Willman
During the month of July 2020, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 155 requests for assistance. There were 129 calls in District 1, 16 calls in District 2, and 10 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Lake Hills Fire/EMS; Schererville Fire/EMS; and Cedar Lake Fire/EMS.

The Monday night activities for the Fire Department during July 2020 included the July 6 monthly Business Meeting of the St. John Volunteer Fire Department.

July 13 was the final Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) session. Every attending member was evaluated on a course set-up at the location of the Fire Department Training Site on Industrial Drive.

July 20 was the St. John Fire/EMS participation with Lake Hills Fire/EMS for a joint training and review of Mutual Aid tanker operations. Lake Hills has a tanker (aka tender) in their fleet of emergency response vehicles. Lake Hills has experience with fire protection in areas that are not protected with municipal water sources and hydrants. St. John also has the responsibility of protecting areas without hydrants. The training is necessary and valuable to our Department and the residents. Both Departments share a good relationship with each other.

July 27 brought forth the assignment of members to various emergency response vehicles. It also encompassed a review of new protection areas. The EMS vehicles concentrated on the proximity closest to appropriate medical facilities. Fire vehicles identified available water sources as well.

Regarding EMS calls, the total number of transports were 111 patients with 75 being transported. ALS transports were 66 with BLS at 9 transports. Residents consisted of 66% and non-residents at 34% transport.

A. Chief Flores
From July 1, 2020, through July 31, 2020, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 17,857 miles and responded to 640 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 27 arrests with 42 charges being filed. There were 218 traffic citations issued, along with 238 written warnings, for a total of 456 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $10,000, other thefts totaled $19,606, and recovered property totaled $10,000.

Chief Flores also updated the Safety Board on the Tri-Town Tactical Unit that began this summer. Officers are able to work overtime due to appropriated funds that allows them to concentrate on the recent vehicle thefts surrounding St. John, Schererville, and Dyer. The overtime is assigned two (2) or three (3) times during the month depending on manpower. The agencies hit target areas where the thefts are occurring. There are typically 25 to 30 officers out; St. John may have 6 to 8 officers on the shift. There were 11 officers the other night. Monthly there is a countywide unit organized by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. This past Friday produced 50 officers on duty throughout the county targeting areas from Hammond to St. John and from the state line to Merrillville. There have been 18 cases generated in St. John alone. Also, there have been multiple drug and traffic cases with 4 arrests and an additional 5 charges filed. Four (4) guns were taken off the street from convicted felons.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Chief Willman
1. New Skid for Brush Truck Update
Chief Willman spoke with Fire Service regarding the estimated time of arrival for the new replacement skid. The skid should arrive in St. John in approximately two (2) weeks.

Other updates consisted of the new Physio-Control cardiac monitor. The Department received component parts and accessories this past Friday. Final delivery of all equipment should arrive shortly.

Mark Olson started his orientation to be re-hired as a Part-Time Firefighter/EMT.

Ronald Swets completed all of the requirements to practice pre-hospital care in the Franciscan Health Crown Point EMS System. His St. John orientation shifts will begin soon.

Katelyn Diehl was hired as a Probationary Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic with St. John on March 14, 2020. She will have served for six (6) months in this capacity as of September 14. The Salary Ordinance requires a six-month probationary period for all new Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedics. Chief Willman requested that Ms. Diehl be promoted as a Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic effective September 14, 2020. He explained that this request comes to the Safety Board due to the scheduling of their next meeting for September 14 as well. This request would eliminate any delays regarding Ms. Diehl’s eligibility for promotion.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion for the promotion of Katelyn Diehl to a Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic on September 14, 2020 provided she completes the probationary period.

Mr. Moran made the motion to hire Ms. Diehl as a Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic. Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by voice vote.

Mr. Janowiak addressed a recent Safety Board investigation into verbal harassment allegations made against Fire Chief Fred Willman earlier this year. Based on the results of the investigation, he moved to make recommendation to the Town Council that Chief Willman receive a written reprimand for such conduct, and that he be required to complete training for development of professional and communication skills with staff and subordinates. He asked for a motion.

Mr. Paradiso made the motion to take the recommendation to the Town Council. Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion. Mr. Janowiak requested a roll-call vote.

Mr. Kmetz Aye
Mr. Moran Aye
Mr. Paradiso Aye
Mr. Janowiak Aye

Motion carried by roll-call vote 4 to 0 in favor.

B. Chief Flores
1. New Hire Process Update
Chief Flores reported that 110 applications were submitted with 6 eliminated for not disclosing backgrounds due to the criminal history check. There were 2 applicants who could not attend the agility test, therefore, 101 applicants were eligible for the test. During the application process, there were many applicants who were unable to obtain college or high school transcripts due to COVID-19 matters. The submission of the supporting documents was extended, so applicants could bring the items to the agility test. The extension gave them two (2) additional weeks to gather information. Applicants were told several times of the required documentation from the website. Several applicants arrived at the agility test lacking the documents or unsigned waivers. There were also a large number that did not show for the testing.

On the day of the agility testing, there were 50 applicants eligible to complete it and 3 applicants did not pass. The final number of applicants were 47 after the results of the agility test. The written test will be Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. at the Clark Middle School Auditorium. The tests were ordered, and then 1 applicant responded that he could not attend. The doors will be closed and locked at 8:00 a.m.

Chief Flores added that a couple members of the Safety Board joined the group to view the agility testing process. The Police Academy staff were also present. The testing and check-in process went smoothly, and he thanked all the participants. The Safety Board was invited to attend the written testing as well.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak adjourned the meeting at 6:16 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

09-21-2020 Safety Board

September 21, 2020 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order, which was attended in person, on Monday, September 21, 2020, at 6:02 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Steve DeJong, Board Member; Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso, Board Member; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Fred Willman, Fire Chief; and Attorney Adam Decker representing the St. John Safety Board. Absent: Robert Kmetz, Vice President; Craig Phillips, Town Manager; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the August 17, 2020 Meeting. Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried by voice vote 3 to 0; Mr. DeJong abstained.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Chief Willman
During the month of August 2020, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 135 requests for assistance. There were 109 calls in District 1, 20 calls in District 2, and 6 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Schererville Fire/EMS, Crown Point Fire/Rescue, Lake Hills Fire/EMS, and Cedar Lake Fire/EMS.

The Monday night activities for the Fire Department during August 2020 included the August 3 monthly Business Meeting of the St. John Volunteer Fire Department.

August 10 was hands-on training and review of the safe and proper procedures to follow when using the portable fans, saws, and related fire-ground equipment.

August 17 was review of raising, throwing, and safely climbing portable ladders. The session was held on the burn building and tower at the Training Site.

August 24 was motor vehicle extrication at Stan’s Auto Yard. The staff at Stan’s set-up vehicles on their property ahead of time for firefighters to come and train.

August 31 was for the Rescue Truck, which included a review of all hand tools, the cascade system for refilling air packs (SCBA), the winch, and the light tower among others.

Regarding EMS calls, the total number of transports were 100 patients with 68 being transported. ALS transports were 55 with BLS at 13 transports. Residents consisted of 54% and non-residents at 46% transport.

A. Chief Flores
From August 1, 2020, through August 31, 2020, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 25,464 miles and responded to 693 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 29 arrests with 47 charges being filed. There were 264 traffic citations issued, along with 348 written warnings, for a total of 612 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $50,000, other thefts totaled $8,088, and recovered property totaled $50,064.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Chief Willman
1. New Hire Process Update
Chief Willman reported that the new process is being put into place now. The list was extended to last until the end of the year. Contact was made with those individuals still remaining on the current list. There are five names, but the contact was not encouraging. Three remain unqualified, one is no longer interested as he took another position, and the final applicant did not receive a favorable recommendation from the Medical Director. The need exists to continue with the process. Chief Willman added that he may lose a couple employees. One full-time employee was accepted at another fire department. There is no specific date at this time for his departure. With this in mind, it is critical that the Department moves forward. He mentioned that the candidates will still be contacted at the very end.

Chief Willman stated that the Department intended to start the meeting with the temporary approval to go with September 21 for accepting applications. This would be followed by October 16 for the application deadline. The applications will be available online and at the Fire Station. Written testing would be held on Friday and Saturday, October 23 and 24. Administrative interviews would be November 6 and 7. Line Officer interviews would follow on November 13 and 14. He hopes to receive some participation from the Safety Board.

Application advertising would be on the Town of St. John Facebook page, Local Firefighters’ Union Facebook page, State Firefighters’ Union, Lake County Fire Chiefs’ Association, Porter County Fire Chiefs’ Association, Franciscan Health Crown Point, Southlake Medical Providers Methodist and St. Mary’s Community Hospital in Hobart. These are the intended sources. Also, the Department is looking into the National Testing Network. The Department would sign up for the Candidate Physical Agility Test (CPAT) orientation. There is a rather hefty fee involved in participating, but it could be beneficial.

President Janowiak asked if the Department advertised in the newspapers. He added that many people seeing the ads from the mentioned sources already have some contact or knowledge of the openings. Many others do not however. Chief Willman replied that they used the newspapers in the past, but there is a fee as well. The other sources do not charge. President Janowiak was concerned about others being reached because they do not have the access or knowledge of such organizations. Chief Willman said that was fine; they can advertise in the Gary Post (Post Tribune) and the Hammond (NWI) Times.

For the application and interview process, the Department established a numerical rating qualification point system. There will be points for experience, written exam, administrative interviews, and for Senior Fire Officer interviews. There will be a total of 100 points. Chief Willman asked for the Board’s support in continuing with the current process. Mr. DeJong asked about the criteria for testing. Last time, there were no Paramedics left on the list. A question was posed concerning the establishment of minimum criteria for taking the test. Chief Willman answered that it is Firefighter/Paramedic. Mr. DeJong clarified that it would be listed on the application then; Firefighter/Paramedic with passing CPAT. Chief Willman agreed. Mr. DeJong then asked if the Fire Department was using Stanard & Associates for the testing as the Police Department does. Chief Willman and Battalion Chief LaDuke explained that the NFSD test is what they have through Industrial/Organizational Solutions (IOS) based in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Mr. Moran asked about a panel of interviewers being present. There would be the administrative panel with the Safety Board, the Fire Chief, and the Senior Officers; possibly 2 Battalion Chiefs and 1 Captain. Mr. Moran asked if he wanted the Safety Board to ask questions. Chief Willman replied that he would like for the Board to participate by asking questions and bringing up concerns. Mr. DeJong added that based on the Safety Board’s role in this matter, they would add integrating a new hiring system under the oversight of the Safety Board. The Board would have to look at the entire hiring process, and then they would make a motion to approve said hiring process and/or any adjustments. Once the motion passed, it would be considered the hiring process. He does not believe this can be approved tonight. The Board has copies of the testing process, the criteria, the application; the whole new process that is being established. They would review it and make any adjustments needed. The earliest would be the next meeting to formally make a motion to approve it as the St. John Fire Department Hiring Process.

Mr. Janowiak and Mr. DeJong confirmed that once the list is established, it would be valid for 2 years. Mr. DeJong believed that the timeline could still be met without making too many adjustments.

2. Fire Personnel Pension Base Presentation – Battalion Chief Kevin LaDuke
Battalion Chief Kevin LaDuke presented the Safety Board with information concerning a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for raising the Fire Department pension base from $58,647.68 to match brothers and sisters on the Police Department. The Police Department is approximately $76,003.20. The Fire Department performed a comparison with other Fire and Police Departments in Lake and Porter Counties. The average pension base rate for a Fire Department is $67,811.97. The Fire Department averages a little lower at $65,540.44 and the Police Department averages a little higher at $70,083.49. Mr. LaDuke is requesting consideration from the Safety Board to raise the pension base, which is a difference of $17,335.52.

The full-time St. John Fire Department was established in March 2002. The Department was participating in the civil pension, which is handled a little different. One reason why the Department wanted the 1977 Pension Fund was for the death and injury benefits. If a member of the Department was hurt or died, a portion of the pension base would be issued to the member or family. When the Department entered the 1977 Pension Fund in 2019, the first class wage or pension base was set actually lower than what the members earn. LaDuke added that it is difficult to calculate the wage due to built-in overtime, but it is roughly $68,000.00 per year. Asking for this amount is still lower than the Police Department, but there is other time to be considered; overtime, sick time, vacation and so on. Depending on when they take the time, it does affect the overtime and take-home pay.

Battalion Chief LaDuke also included the State of Indiana 1977 Pension Fund certified salaries for the average pension base. The difference for the Town in cost would be $27,334.94 per year additional. For the actual cost per member, it would be $3,037.27. He believes this is a huge benefit for the members if they are injured or killed in the line of duty.

Mr. Janowiak asked if the pension salary was based on the base salary or does it include overtime and other. At the time, the former Town Manager figured the base mandatory FLSA overtime. He figured it on straight time. Typically, the pension base is the salary base. If the Fire Department asked for a salary increase that would be a considerable cost to the Town. In this respect, they are asking for the pension base increase. The Town pays 17.5%, which goes to the Pension Fund and is invested through the State of Indiana.

Mr. DeJong added that what defines the salary of a First Class Patrolman and/or First Class Firefighter strictly within the law removes any overtime or compensatory time off. In order to look at this matter per state code, salaries would have to be reworked to meet the law. Overtime cannot be included in the cost of that salary. This is most likely how the first calculation came about. It is only base salary and may include longevity based on the municipalities after 20 years. LaDuke clarified that it is mandatory overtime, not overtime to pick up a shift. Anything after 212 hours is overtime. DeJong specified that overtime cannot be figured into the pensionable salary. LaDuke added that it is a federal law. DeJong noted that he understood, but it cannot be based on the First Class Patrolman salary or First Class Firefighter; overtime cannot be figured into what is the pensionable salary. LaDuke added that he understands that point; however, all the state’s Fire Departments have that built into it.

Mr. DeJong continued to explain that they are looking at two different things, and he did not believe it was explained enough. He also felt it was not the purview of the Safety Board as far as wages and benefits go. Mr. DeJong believed it was a Town Council matter. There was not enough information to determine, especially since it was stated on record that it includes overtime, but the law states it cannot. Mr. LaDuke clarified the overtime is a federal standard. Mr. DeJong stated that the definition of the salary of a First Class Firefighter shall not include overtime. Mr. Janowiak added that if they hire new Firefighters, and the base pay they are hired at is “x” number of dollars, they can work all the overtime they can get, but their pension would be based on that base salary and so would their share of any contributions they give. It would not include the overtime they make. Mr. LaDuke reiterated he understood, but there appears to be a disconnection concerning the overtime. When the Fire Department states overtime per the law, it’s any extra shifts. He explained that they have to work a certain number of hours, so the $68,000 they roughly get, is the normal schedule. They would not be picking up any extra shifts; not working any overtime. Overtime would be an additional shift they would pick up, and this is what he believes the law is stating.

Mr. Paradiso provided further explanation regarding any hours over 212. Basically, if someone makes $22 per hour, working 24 hours per day, and then it is multiplied by 122 days in a year. This amount would be divided into the base pay, and that is how much is made per hour. Anything over that cannot be figured in by law. Mr. DeJong added that he understands the FLSA time, but it would have to be broken down as to what accounts for what. Mr. LaDuke understood and suggested legal counsel review it. He also understood that the Safety Board does not have purview to spend money. He was only looking for favorable support, and he acknowledged their interpretations. Mr. DeJong’s advice would be to do a little more homework as far as breaking down numbers in order to make it crystal clear as to what they are looking for based on what. Mr. Janowiak concluded that agreeing with Mr. LaDuke is not necessarily a problem as much as the requirement as to what is being agreed upon.

B. Chief Flores
1. New Hire Process Update
Chief Flores reported that 45 candidates took the written test with 3 who failed. The passing score was 70. There was a final count of 42 who were scheduled for interviews, which will be panel interviews for October 1 through 3. There will be 7 groups of 6 at the station. The list will be compiled at the end and presented to the Safety Board. Thursday and Friday will begin at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday will be 8:00 a.m.

Mr. Janowiak asked about the panel process. Chief Flores explained that each candidate will receive a question first. There will be a series of 6 questions and each person will be able to answer first on a question. He has been through a couple panel interviews and it works well. Each candidate gets an opportunity to be first, last, and somewhere in the middle as described by Mr. DeJong.

2. Request to Promote Acting Corporal Zuzich
On September 1, Chief Flores provided the Safety Board with information and requesting that Acting Corporal Zuzich be promoted to Corporal. He is on the current promotion list. As of February 6, 2020, Zuzich stepped up and volunteered to take on the duties without any of the benefits. He has done an impeccable job. He is a shift supervisor with added duties, but no compensation. He also runs the security details and is an evidence tech-in-charge. He is in charge of the Department grants as well. There was a school bus grant recently with several officers available to enforce the traffic laws. There are also seat belt and DUI grants. Within the last month, Zuzich successfully completed a three-day first line supervision training course held at the Northwest Law Enforcement Academy. Prior to St. John, Zuzich served Merrillville Police for 6 years as a Corporal and Supervisor. Chief Flores praised Zuzich for being a great officer who remains calm during emergencies and is respected among his peers.

President Janowiak entertained a motion to promote Acting Corporal Zuzich to Corporal. Mr. DeJong made the motion with second by Mr. Moran. All were in favor by voice vote; 4 to 0.

3. Retired Officer Schreiber’s Service Weapon Letter
Chief Flores received a letter from Detective Wortsman regarding Officer Schreiber who retired in 2018. Typically, retired officers are given their badge and service weapon. However, Officer Schreiber did not receive his service weapon. Chief Flores forwarded this letter to the Safety Board for their review.

Originally, the matter was presented to the Town Council and they referred it to the Safety Board. Chief Flores is requesting a favorable recommendation, so the matter may be returned to the Town Council for their decision. Chief Flores explained that authority rests with the Council to give property away.

Officer Schreiber served 19 years in law enforcement with 12 years at the St. John Police Department. He did a great job serving the Department and community.

President Janowiak entertained a motion for the Town Council to give retired Officer Schreiber his service weapon. Mr. Moran made the motion with second by Mr. Paradiso. All were in favor by voice vote; 4 to 0.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak adjourned the meeting at 6:42 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

10-19-2020 Safety Board

October 19, 2020 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order, which was attended in person, on Monday, October 19, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Patrick Moran, Secretary; Raymond Paradiso, Board Member; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Fred Willman, Fire Chief; and Attorney Adam Decker representing the St. John Safety Board. Absent: Steven DeJong, Board Member; Craig Phillips, Town Manager; and Michael Schilling, Town Council Liaison. A quorum was attained. *Vice President Robert Kmetz appeared after the approval of the minutes.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the September 21, 2020 Meeting. Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Moran seconded the motion. Motion carried by voice vote *3 to 0.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Chief Willman
During the month of September 2020, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 157 requests for assistance. There were 127 calls in District 1, 19 calls in District 2, and 11 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Lake Hills Fire/EMS, Schererville Fire/EMS, Crown Point Fire/EMS, and Cedar Lake Fire/EMS.

The September Business Meeting of the Volunteer Division, normally scheduled for the first Monday of each month, was postponed due to the Labor Day holiday. Training was also rescheduled for another evening.

On September 14, the members went to the Training Site for a session that included several exercises with both ladder trucks. The 78’ Quint was activated very few times, but the Department must be prepared for when it is needed. The 100’ Ladder Tower was taken to the Training Site as well. The 40’ training tower is an excellent structure to practice positioning, exterior climbing, and rescue operations. The Instructors and Firefighters did an excellent job during the challenges.

On September 21, the group reviewed policies, protocols, and procedures associated with successful search and rescue evolutions.

During September, the Dyer Fire Department used the St. John Training Site for some aerial and standpipe evolutions on two different evenings. Our members joined them on September 28 to train together.

Regarding EMS calls, the total number of transports were 125 patients with 92 being transported. ALS transports were 80 with BLS at 12 transports. Residents consisted of 58% and non-residents at 42% transport.

Mr. Kmetz commended the St. John Fire Department for a recent call involving family members.

A. Chief Flores
From September 1, 2020, through September 30, 2020, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 21,453 miles and responded to 661 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 18 arrests with 35 charges being filed. There were 241 traffic citations issued, along with 282 written warnings, for a total of 523 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $129,897, other thefts totaled $84,047, and recovered property totaled $70,000.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Chief Willman
1. Brush Truck Project
Chief Willman reported that the brush truck matter is completed, and the Department is very pleased with the outcome.
2. New Hire Process
Chief Willman reported on the status of the new hire process. The application period ended at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 16, 2020. The Department received 11 applications. Two of the apps were from EMT’s rather than an EMT/P or a Paramedic, therefore, 9 active applications remain. The dates have been set for the testing procedures. One candidate has a conflict due to being quarantined from COVID-19 on the dates that have been established. She will be able to test at a later time and still obtain results that would qualify her in time for the evaluation. This item was just discovered this afternoon. The candidate has the opportunity to go to the testing site in Oak Brook, but timing should be such that she can get this accomplished. Dates have also been set for the interviews. There was a good response for the interview scheduling.

The application point system was provided to the Safety Board. The conditional offer process is in place. The public notice was published online in the morning of the first day and in print for the 3 consecutive days after in the Hammond (NWI) Times. The Department used several other entities as addressed in the previous meeting. A total of 60 applications were retrieved from the internet. There were also 22,500 hits on Facebook.

Contact was made with the candidates on the previous list still valid until year-end. One candidate desired interest who became a Paramedic. He qualified for a conditional offer of employment and such offer was provided. He had 9 days to respond to the offer. It was 11 days later that he called to state he was coming to St. John; however, the candidate never followed through with his intentions. With this in mind, there are no longer any qualified previous candidates to select.

Mr. Moran inquired about the application point breakdown. He questioned if points can be obtained for a score below 39%. He asked if there was a pass/fail on the exam. Chief Willman answered that he was not in favor. He was not certain if that came as a recommendation from the testing organization. He thought the scale was a little bit off. Mr. Moran asked who the group was that planned the points system. Chief Willman said it was the other involved officers. Mr. Moran added if it was possible to get 39% on the written test and still be eligible to become a Firefighter. Chief did not agree it would arrive at a high score. Mr. Moran explained that most tests are at 70% pass/fail or above. Chief agreed with the concerns and would not be impressed with someone at 60%. Mr. Paradiso added that he would not be impressed with anyone having a score less than 70%. Chief Willman concurred. Mr. Moran stated that he would like to see 70 to 80, 80 to 90, and 90 to 100. In the past, 65% is as low as Chief would go for scoring on the written test. The group can review this matter further, and it could be changed. Mr. Paradiso stated that the score breakdown should be 70 to 79, 15 points; 80 to 89, 20 points; and 90 to 100, 25 points.

Mr. Moran asked Attorney Decker if the Safety Board could make a recommendation that the Fire Department does not accept anyone under 70. Attorney Decker answered that they may do so.

Mr. Moran wanted to make a motion not to accept anyone under 70% on the written test. They should not be able to qualify as a Firefighter. Mr. Janowiak added that a motion is on the floor by Mr. Moran that anyone scoring below 70% will be deemed not passing. Mr. Paradiso made the second. All were in favor by voice vote 4 to 0.

Mr. Janowiak asked Chief Willman if there were 11 applications submitted. Chief Willman confirmed there were 11 submitted, but 2 applications did not qualify because they asked for a Firefighter/Paramedic. There are 9 applications. It appeared to be a low response, but other departments are receiving 4 or 5 per Chief.

Mr. Janowiak questioned the applicant who was quarantined and asked if there could be a different date picked for another excuse. Chief Willman stated that the exception would be made due to the pandemic. The Department could pay $600 to do a remote written test, but it also cost $600 to publish in the Hammond (NWI) Times. He was not in favor of using the newspapers. Since the Department discovered this item at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, Chief Willman estimated that as long as the test results could be computed and returned before any others are considered, he would approve. The candidate could drive to Oak Brook for the written test. If it could be done another way, rather than paying the $600, he would agree. The timing could be such that the test could still be graded. It was determined that the actual date when the candidate would be available for the test has to be known. There was some further discussion concerning the time and place of the test for this one candidate. The candidate would take the test at the Department like everyone else when she was free. It would not be on the 6th or 7th of November as Chief understood. He added that there should not be a special advantage over others for the test scoring; it was just because of the quarantine. It was confirmed that the $600 fee would only be if she was accommodated at the testing facility in Oak Brook. There has to be a cut-off date, so the tests can be graded and returned with the results prior to the oral interviews. This also includes the agility test. Administrative interviews would be on the 6th and 7th of November. Chief Willman added that the physical test has to be done by the time of the conditional offer. They also must have the CPAT in hand by the time of the offer.

Mr. Moran stated that he would extend the timing a week, and Mr. Paradiso asked if the quarantines are generally mandated. Mr. Kmetz understood that there was a 14-day quarantine required. Mr. Paradiso instructed Chief Willman to contact the candidate and find out when she will be out of quarantine. Further discussion ensued regarding the time of her quarantine and the test results being completed. The tests can be sent overnight. Mr. Kmetz added that he would like to see the test taken by October 31. Mr. Janowiak agreed that there needs to be a deadline. Chief Willman said he would rather pay the $600 than to exclude the candidate. It was mentioned that a week before the oral interviews would be a good time. Again, the Department needs to know when she will be available for testing.

Mr. Janowiak asked how the testing was conducted. The test is proctored by the Fire Department in its facility. The tests are then mailed to the testing company for grading. Mr. Moran inquired about a motion. Mr. Kmetz added that 2 weeks is November 2 for quarantine, suggesting ample time for the candidate’s testing. Mr. Janowiak asked Attorney Decker if a motion was necessary. Attorney Decker stated that a motion could be made by anyone, but it is not required. Chief Willman is seeking acceptable direction under such circumstances; no formal motion required. Mr. Moran inquired about the $600 fee for the test. Attorney Decker stated that if it is the Board’s position to spend the $600, then a motion and vote would be appropriate for its approval. Mr. Janowiak said that taking the test in Oak Brook would not be much different than taking it at the Fire facility due to the quarantine. It is a matter of the day that she can take the test, whether it is taken at the facility or in Oak Brook for $600. The date she takes it will be the same. She cannot go to Oak Brook until she is out of quarantine. Mr. Paradiso added that she has until November 2 to be out of quarantine. Comment was made between Mr. Moran and Mr. Kmetz about avoiding the $600 fee since the tests can be sent overnight. Chief Willman will get the information from the candidate. Mr. Janowiak said that he would like to help, but setting a precedence is a matter of concern. Mr. Paradiso explained that he was comparing someone who has informed us of a quarantine in advance versus someone who does not show on the testing day because of the flu. Chief Willman added that he was not in favor of paying for the test due to the question that may arise later about paying for the CPAT, which is $185 and required. He confirmed that he will inquire about the date with the candidate.

3. Accept Resignation of Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic Jeremy Olson
Chief Willman reported that a letter was written to acknowledge Mr. Olson’s change of employment to the Hammond Fire Department. His last day in full-time status with St. John was October 10. Chief Willman added that he has been an exemplary employee throughout his career and displays strong leadership abilities. He requested that the Board accept his resignation and consider Mr. Olson to remain on the roster as a Part-Time Firefighter/Paramedic.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to accept the resignation of Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic Jeremy Olson. Mr. Kmetz made the motion with second made by Mr. Moran. All were in favor by voice vote 4 to 0.

4. Request for Firefighter/Paramedic Jeremy Olson to Part-Time Status
A request was made to allow Mr. Olson to remain with St. John Fire Department as a Part-Time Firefighter/Paramedic.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to accept Jeremy Olson as a Part-Time Firefighter/Paramedic. Mr. Kmetz made the motion with second made by Mr. Paradiso. All were in favor by voice vote 4 to 0.

B. Chief Flores
1. New Hire Process Update
Chief Flores reported that the interviews were held recently. There were originally 42 candidates on the list with 2 not showing. There were 40 interviewed and 18 candidates passed. The Safety Board was presented with a list after all scores were added. Mr. Janowiak was given the original copy for signatures tonight. The written score was 70% of the overall score, and the interview was 30% of the overall score. Other scores were 10% for military, 10% for a bachelor’s degree, and 5% for an associate’s degree. Once the written test and interview scores were weighted, and the other scores were added for military or college, this provided the total score. The interviews went well and the Chairman joined the group for a couple days. Chief Flores is asking, if there are no questions, that the list be approved. It will then be posted the next day, and the list will expire 2 years from tomorrow; October 20, 2022.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the Police Department Eligibility List from October 20, 2020 to the expiration of October 20, 2022. Mr. Paradiso made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. All were in favor by voice vote 4 to 0.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak adjourned the meeting at 6:43 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

11-16-2020 Safety Board

November 16, 2020 Safety Board Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Janowiak called St. John Town Safety Board Regular Meeting to order, which was attended in person, on Monday, November 16, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Safety Board Members present: Patrick Moran (remotely), Secretary; Raymond Paradiso, Board Member; Robert Kmetz, Vice President; and Richard Janowiak, President. Also present: Steven Flores, Police Chief; Fred Willman, Fire Chief; and Attorney Adam Decker (remotely) representing the St. John Safety Board. Absent: Steven DeJong, Board Member; and Craig Phillips, Town Manager. A quorum was attained.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the minutes for the October 19, 2020 Meeting. Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the minutes; Mr. Kmetz seconded the motion. Roll-call vote: Mr. Kmetz, yes; Mr. Moran, yes; Mr. Paradiso, yes; and Mr. Janowiak, yes. Motion carried 4 to 0.

MONTHLY REPORTS:

A. Chief Willman
During the month of October 2020, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 155 requests for assistance. There were 125 calls in District 1, 18 calls in District 2, and 12 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Schererville Fire/EMS, Lake Hills Fire/EMS, Crown Point Fire/Rescue, Steger Fire Department, Beecher Fire Department, and Dyer Fire Department. There were 15 responses out of town to support such agencies.

The monthly Business Meeting of the Volunteer Division was held on October 5. October is Fire Prevention Month, which normally allows for an annual open house. The COVID-19 restrictions did not permit the event this year. The Fire Department did provide coloring books and colored helmets to the grade schools for younger students. This gesture allows the Department to stress the importance of fire safety for all families.

On October 12, training was a review of the proper and most effective way to use our portable communications equipment; both hand-held and vehicle-installed. St. John has excellent communications equipment, oftentimes life saving for firefighters and victims.

On October 19, the EMS staff offered and in-house clinic regarding the proper and most effective manner to immobilize a patient for both immediate handling and transport. The tools included splints, long spine boards, cervical collars, and related.

October 26 was the annual ropes and knots challenge.

Regarding EMS calls, the total number of transports were 108 patients with 73 being transported. ALS transports were 57 with BLS at 16 transports. Residents consisted of 67% and non-residents at 33% transport.

A. Chief Flores
From October 1, 2020, through October 31, 2020, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 24,208 miles and responded to 708 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 20 arrests with 38 charges being filed. There were 172 traffic citations issued, along with 298 written warnings, for a total of 470 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $59,897, other thefts totaled $1,730, and recovered property totaled $59,897.

Chief Flores mentioned that the Department participated in a Toys for Tots event on Saturday, November 14.

He also informed the Safety Board that the St. John Police Department conducted a crime suppression-saturation patrol with surrounding agencies. Munster Police had a carjacking on October 29. Prior to this incident, the two suspects were carjacking and shooting in Hammond. The suspects headed to Chicago in the stolen vehicle from Munster. The Chicago Police began chasing the vehicle, which returned to Indiana. The Chicago Police helicopter continued to follow the vehicle. There were about 30 officers responding from various agencies. The vehicle was located and a pursuit followed. During the pursuit, the stolen vehicle crashed into a St. John squad, but there were no injuries as it was low impact. The two suspects bailed out and tossed a gun that was recovered in a ditch. The stolen vehicle was pulled from this ditch, and a loaded AR-15 and handgun were discovered inside. Both suspects were taken into custody with several charges filed.

There was also a shooting on Halloween night when a 16-year-old female was driving from St. John to Crete, Illinois. Upon arriving at West 101st and Calumet Avenue, there was an individual on a bicycle that shot at her car, striking it 5 times. One of the bullets came through the driver’s side window, missing the victim’s face and hitting the passenger side door. A detective was called to the scene, and eventually the suspect was discovered at the Always Open gas station. The suspect returned to the gas station the following night, and the attendant called police to report it. He matched the description and the ammunition matched what was located at the scene of the shooting. A search warrant was conducted at the suspect’s house. There was no weapon recovered at the residence; however, a K9 search revealed a 22-caliber pistol in the area of the shooting. Charges were filed.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Chief Willman
1. New Hire Process Update
Chief Willman reported that the Department completed interviews on the 6th and 7th of November, and on the weekend. The list was established and provided to the Safety Board for approval and posting.

Mr. Paradiso made a motion to approve the list that was established by the Fire Department, and this list would be effective today (November 16, 2020), as the previous list has been exhausted due to any remaining candidates rejecting a job or accepting a job elsewhere. The names listed are in the order based on how they finished. The second was made by Mr. Kmetz to approve the hiring list. Roll-call vote: Mr. Kmetz, yes; Mr. Moran, yes; Mr. Paradiso, yes; and Mr. Janowiak, yes. Motion carried 4 to 0.

Mr. Paradiso commended Chief Willman and Battalion Chief LaDuke for the work they did in the short period of time allotted. Chief Willman also thanked Mr. Paradiso and Mr. DeJong for participating, and thanked the Board for their support. It was concluded that signatures would be needed on the list.

2. Request to Purchase
Chief Willman reported that there is one item for purchase. The other items on his list were for maintenance agreements to comply with UL certification and the like. The amounts will require approval from the Town Council.

a. Stryker annual maintenance agreement renewals for 3 power cots and 3 power-load systems at $9,147.00. The items are under a 5-year contract payable from Cumulative Fire Fund.

b. Fire Service repairs from documented results of an annual UL testing requirement. The repairs are for cracked welds at the base of the aerial platform, the man-saver bar is inoperative, hydraulic oil leakage at the right side of base section, and waterway seals leakage. None of the items require the apparatus to be taken out of service; however the UL would not provide certification without such repairs, and returning for another test. Total cost is $9,841.00 payable from Cumulative Fire Fund. Cost also includes replacement of the parking brake valve and auto-eject components due to test failure.

Chief Willman commented that the Fire Department scored a 4 in the ISO rating. They did last time as well.

c. Municipal Emergency Service hydro-test and service on the SCBA air-pak bottles. The quote consists of hydro-test, O-rings and transportation/exchange at a cost of $2,221.40. This is payable from the Cumulative Fire Fund.

d. Stryker purchase of one (1) LUCAS 3 chest compression system with rechargeable battery, external power supply, 2 power adaptors, and a box of 20 pediatric SP02 sensors. Cost is $17,329.06 with a request to be paid from the Public Safety Fund #249.

e. Stryker annual maintenance agreement renewal for three (3) existing LUCAS 3 CPR chest compression systems, which are under 5-year contracts. One (1) year was included with purchase, and the contract identifies the remaining 4 hours. Annual cost is $3,952.50 payable from the Cumulative Fire Fund. There is one in each ambulance. The new model will go to the ALS non-transport vehicle.

Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the purchases as described. Mr. Paradiso made the motion with second made by Mr. Kmetz. Roll-call vote: Mr. Kmetz, yes; Mr. Moran, yes; Mr. Paradiso, yes; and Mr. Janowiak, yes. Motion carried 4 to 0.

3. Other Business – Retirement Letter
Mr. Janowiak announced that he received a letter from Chief Willman concerning retirement with last day of December 31, 2020. Chief Willman has served for 40 years as the first full-time Chief, and the first full-time fireman. He served 25 years as the Fire Chief. Mr. Janowiak entertained a motion to approve the letter of retirement from Chief Willman. Mr. Moran made the motion to accept the request with second made by Mr. Paradiso. Roll-call vote: Mr. Kmetz, yes; Mr. Moran, yes; Mr. Paradiso, yes; and Mr. Janowiak, yes. Motion carried 4 to 0.
B. Chief Flores
Chief Flores congratulated Chief Willman on his retirement. He has worked closely with Chief Willman during the years within the capacity of a police officer and assistant chief for the Lake Hills Fire Department. Chief Willman has always been supportive and St. John is lucky to have had him serving for 40 years.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Janowiak called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Moran made the motion to adjourn with second made by Mr. Kmetz. Roll-call vote: Mr. Kmetz, yes; Mr. Moran, yes; Mr. Paradiso, yes; and Mr. Janowiak, yes. Motion carried 4 to 0. Meeting adjourned at 6:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:

Amy J. Gross, Recording Secretary
St. John Safety Board

12-21-2020 Safety Board Meeting Canceled

Meeting Video Recordings may be found on the Town's YouTube channel

Meeting Audio Recordings

01-08-2020 Joint Town Council Safety Board

01-20-2020 Safety Board

02-28-2020 Safety Board

05-18-2020 Safety Board

06-15-2020 Safety Board

07-20-2020 Safety Board

08-17-2020 Safety Board

09-21-2020 Safety Board

10-19-2020 Safety Board

11-16-2020 Safety Board

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