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Residents call for stricter police enforcement in Oldenburg

Council member responds with "Give them a ticket if they break the law"

(OLDENBURG, Ind.) — A group of Oldenburg residents attended the Town Council meeting Monday night to advocate for stricter law enforcement in the community.

The group referenced a recent incident where aggressive solicitors were allegedly trying to break-in to homes.

"They went around town and tried to get into numerous houses on Friday under the guise of selling vacuums or candles," Oldenburg resident Debbie Enneking said.

Enneking says a neighbor called her, crying, and said, "Lock your doors, I've called the police, there's a guy that tried to enter my house asking if I received a free candle as he stuck his hand in the door."

The neighbor said the man came from a maroon van, which matched the description of the vehicle Enneking saw parked at that the home of an elderly person on Washington Street.

Neighbors tried to call the elderly woman who didn't answer the phone, Enneking recalled.

Debbie called the Franklin County Sheriff's Sheriff's Department and asked for someone to respond to the elderly person's home.

Another neighbor eventually went to the home and found an alleged solicitor inside the elderly woman's house.

Enneking says it took more than an hour for a Franklin County deputy to respond and stop the vehicle.

Enneking addresses Oldenburg Town Council Monday night

There wasn't an empty seat at the Oldenburg Town Council meeting last night.

Enneking and other residents questioned how the communication process works between the sheriff's office and Oldenburg police when a Franklin County dispatcher answers a 9-1-1 call.

Franklin County currently responds to emergent police matters in Oldenburg while residents are encouraged to call Oldenburg Police at (812) 934-3556 for non-emergencies.

However, county deputies are not always able to respond within moments due to the size of the county and staffing.

"My son is on the Franklin County Sheriff's Department and it's a 45-minute drive to get here from most places they're at," an Oldenburg resident said during the council meeting.

Oldenburg officers said they did not get notified about the incident involving the alleged solicitor.

"There seems to be a disconnect between the two agencies, and the Town of Oldenburg needs to fix that for sure," said the daughter of the elderly homeowner.

"I'm not negating the hard work of the police force here, or anywhere, but we have to come up with a solution, because this isn't working and people don't feel safe," she added.

The Oldenburg Police Department is comprised of two part-time officers along with two reserve officers.

Oldenburg's town council said they're currently limited by funds but have a long-term goal of creating a full-time police department.

Council member Struewing responds

After hearing from Enneking and others, Town Council member Greg Struewing asked the residents to clarify exactly what they were asking for.

Enneking asked for stricter enforcement when it comes to traffic violations, while hoping to improve response times on emergency calls.

Struewing responded by directing the Oldenburg Police Department to increase enforcement.

"After hearing what we heard tonight, Bill and Eric, if you catch someone speeding with the radar gun, give them a ticket. If you catch them spinning tires that's unsafe, give them a ticket," Struewing said.

"Anyone breaking the law, give them a ticket," Struewing added.

Town Council also said they'll reach out to the Franklin County sheriff to discuss ways of improving law enforcement in Oldenburg.

"Can we give our town police a chance to do something and come back to Council next month and let us know how they're doing," Struewing asked Enneking.

Enneking said yes and also asked for enforcement statistics at December's council meeting.

Debbie said she was pleased with the Town Council's response Monday night.

"They were listening tonight, I think The 812's presence along with the fact that there were a lot of people here who are concerned and no longer feel protected made a difference. It finally sounds like we're going to get some results and I'm happy about that," Enneking said.


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