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Milan residents question quotas

Jessica Cuffman • Oct 12, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Milan police Chief Jim Rose’s seemingly sudden departure from his job has left many residents with unanswered questions.

Given that Rose told residents he intended to retire in this small village, why would he leave for another job after serving as the top cop for just two years?

One possible answer: The $30,000 pay increase he’ll see as a deputy chief for Perrysburg Township police.

Even so, residents are asking if politics — particularly disputes over village finances amid declining revenue — gave Rose the push out the door.

The village saw income decline on all levels in the past several years. Residents are left wondering if Rose was pressured to make the police department a revenueproducing entity by issuing tickets to motorists who would have to pay fines levied in mayor’s court.    

Resident Victor Mooney made just such a statement at a recent council meeting, shortly after Rose submitted his resignation.

“For the first time in my 40-plus years here, Milan is no longer the No. 1 speed trap in America,” Mooney said. “Little old ladies are no longer pounced on if their wheels don’t stop turning.

“While there are still many folks in the surrounding area who consistently avoid traveling through or shopping in Milan, the tide has turned,” Mooney said.

“There are still many former travelers who swear when your town is mentioned, relating horror stories,” he said.

Mayor Steve Rockwell has not returned calls from the Register seeking comment.

At the council meeting, Rockwell told residents the police department was not to be a revenue-producing office, and there were no public conversations with Rose on the matter.

But the village’s finances tell an interesting tale.

Revenue in the mayor’s court was cut in half the year Rose was hired, 2011, dropping from about $64,000 to $35,000. So, too, did the number of traffic citations, dropping from 433 in 2010 to 255 in 2011.

Over the three years before Rose was hired, Milan Mayor’s Court raked in an average of about $67,000 a year, also handling an average of about 490 traffic tickets in each one of those years.

At a village council meeting last year, more than 30 residents showed up to support Rose, who suspected his job was in jeopardy.

At the time, Rose declined to say if he was pressured to issue more traffic tickets to produce revenue for the village.

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