Andover officers awarded at committee meeting

| 25 Apr 2012 | 02:18

Other topics discussed include new walking trail and decreased school enrollment By Rose Sgarlato ANDOVER — At Tuesday’s Andover committee meeting, Police Chief Gil Taglialatela brought special attention to four of the department's employees by honoring them with a letter of commendation. Sergeant Eric Danielson, Patrolman Joseph Indano, Patrolman George Laoudis and Dispatcher Janet Ragsdale received the commendation for their actions while responding to an incident on April 6 at the Rolling Hills condominium section of Andover. A male resident at Rolling Hills was reportedly intoxicated and threatening suicide. He was also in possession of a rifle. Ragsdale handled the call and relayed the information to the officers who had arrived on the scene. After making sure residents returned to their homes and remained inside, the officers set up a perimeter around the condo unit. One of the officers could see that the male subject was headed towards the back sliding glass door, attempting an exit. Two of the officers instructed the subject to drop his weapon. Instead, he pointed it in the direction of the officers and the complex. While Indano and Laoudis provided cover, Danielson talked to the subject, engaging him in conversation that eventually led to him putting down the weapon. Although it was loaded, no harm was done and the suspect surrendered without further incident. The recognition read by Chief Taglialatela was as follows: “For outstanding performance while demonstrating a high degree of professionalism, initiative, determination, teamwork and sound decision making during a highly charged event by successfully taking an armed subject into custody without any injury or loss of life reflects great credit upon Dispatcher Ragsdale, Officers Danielson, Indano and Laoudis, the profession of law enforcement, the Andover Township police department, and the citizens we serve and protect. I commend these individuals on a job well done.” Andover Mayor Michael Lesnak said, “I am very proud of the police force. The professionalism is second to none. These are the reasons why I am proud to be a resident here. The police force does fantastic job, thanks to you chief.” Walking trail Steady progress is being made on the walking trail in Andover that has been in the works for four years. The trail begins at Hillside Park and goes up to Mulford Road and is approximately two-and-a-half miles long. “Ideally we would like to have it completed by Memorial Day if the weather remains good, but definitely by early summer," said Andover committee member Tom Walsh. "It will also be great for bicycling and hiking in a safe way." Decreased school enrollment Although there was no talk concerning the municipal budget, which will be adopted at the next May 14 meeting, school enrollment and its effect on taxpayers remains a sensitive subject among the committee. “Enrollment is down by 100 students, but non-certified staff has increased by 24 percent," said Deputy Mayor Gail Pheobus. "This is very alarming.” Figures supporting her statement were presented that showed in 2001, 747 students were enrolled in the school district while in 2011 the enrollment was 646. “We want everybody to have a great education. But there is more administration and less kids. Their budget is half of ours; we would just like them to get on board with us and give the taxpayers a break,” said committee member Walsh.