By Jocelyn Stefancin, Class of 2016
Red and blue flashing lights broke through the gray morning sky as the signature class entered the parking lot at Williams on the Lake January 13, 2016. Law enforcement officers directed all drivers to a safety check/OVI check point. Once it was determined that no driver posed a threat to the safety of community members on the roadway, the drivers were permitted to continue on their way.
After clearing the OVI check point, signature class members were treated to a breakfast buffet while representatives from local government and safety forces spoke. Adam Frederick explained the role of a county commissioner. A key role is creating the county budget. The county’s general fund pays for various county agencies such as the Sheriff’s Department, the auditor’s office, and the office for older adults. A representative from the Medina County OVI task force also spoke. The task force was created due to a high number of traffic fatalities in the county. The task force has members from all police agencies in the county. The goal is to limit traffic fatalities by stepping up enforcement on impaired drivers. OVI check points a valuable tool for police agencies.
After breakfast, class members walked through the Services Expo. The Expo offered the opportunity to learn about local county agencies and the services provided by those agencies. Representatives from over 30 agencies were in attendance.
Tours of the juvenile detention facility and the Medina County Jail gave class members an accurate portrayal of “jail life”. “I never knew jail was like that.” said Glen Rutherford. “It was so quiet and somber. It’s not jovial and fun like some of the television shows you see.” Gary Hubbard from the Medina County Drug Task Force said most people in the county jail are there due to drugs; not just drug possessions but property crimes such as theft and burglary related to drug use. “Drug problems lead to poor choices and often cause a person to get caught in a downward spiral” Hubbard said. The county’s drug problem is also seen in juvenile court where Judge Dunn created a TI-180 program which helps parents identify the warning signs of drug usage.
Rather than end the day on depressing note, the Local Government Day Committee arranged a “Public Service” Scavenger Hunt. Four person teams were given a problem scenario to solve. The teams took off for local agencies to assist them in solving the problem. Team members were to obtain information from the agency and a photograph of the team at the agency location. One team was ordered to appear in Juvenile Court to experience firsthand how the juvenile court works. Scott Gnau played the role of “alleged juvenile delinquent”. All teams reported back to Williams on the Lake for “debriefing” after the scavenger hunt. As team members discussed how they solved the assigned scenarios it became apparent to all that the resources available to Medina County citizens is top-notch. In speaking about her scenario, Joanna Rini said “The office of older adults has a wealth of information about services for aging parents. You don’t know how much you don’t know (about these issues).”