Guest Blogger: Susie Inish
Exemplifying the fantastic family spirit at Lakeside Chautauqua, the community has nearly non-existent levels of crime, making it the perfect place to unwind and nurture your mind, body and spirit.
This fact is thanks to the interesting history of policing in the community and the men and women who patrol the streets to ensure Lakeside remains a safe place to visit.
Forming of Lakeside Chautauqua’s Police Force
At the start of the 20th century, a special security police force was formed to patrol the Chautauqua community.
There were only two patrolmen employed at the time, but they were given full police status in order to protect the community. Under this status, they were given full authority to enforce the Chautauqua rules and regulations, which are in place to ensure that everyone who resides here does so in a peaceful environment.
The officers in charge during this early period should be remembered for their contribution to the upkeep of the values incorporated in mission and vision of the Chautauqua community.
Lakeside Police Department
A few decades later, in the 1950s, the special security police force was dismantled, and the responsibility for the protection of the community fell to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.
Soon after, Lakeside received its own special division, which became known as the Lakeside Association Police Department. The department was headed by a Chief Deputy and contained two additional deputies, as well as two non-sworn officers. These two non-sworn officers became the first Lakeside security guards under the employment of the association.
Lakeside Police Duties
The Lakeside Association Police Department also had a responsibility for patrolling the streets of Marblehead and Danbury Township. They were occasionally called upon to help support the local police departments in these areas.
Most of the patrolling and property checks were the responsibility of Lakeside security guards, along with other non-law enforcement duties for the Chautauqua community. Parades, which happened regularly over the summer months, were escorted by both the Lakeside Association Police Department and Lakeside security guards.
A Policing First in Lakeside
The Lakeside Association Police Department became the first police department in the area to use computers to aid their duties. They were also the first team to use DataManagerPC software for police report writing.
This technical edge was maintained until 1995, when changes to the system were brought in and rolled out nationwide.
Lakeside Police Dismantles
Due to a lack of personnel, the Lakeside Association Police Department dissolved in 1994 due to personnel issues.
At the same time, the State of Ohio removed arrest authorities and police powers from Chautauquas throughout Ohio. The deputies from the Lakeside Association Police Department were reassigned as Lakeside Security Officers/Special Deputies. The patrols, however, continued but under contract and only provided one deputy after 1995.
History of the Lakeside Security Department
Deciding to provide their own protection, the Lakeside Security Department was formed in 1998. The department was formed in partnership with the Danbury Township Police as it fell within Danbury’s jurisdiction and the ultimate jurisdiction of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.
All of the technology and equipment that belonged to the former service was soon in the hands of this new department.
The department was housed on the outskirts of the grounds in the municipal services building.
In 1998, the Lakeside Security Department had two patrol cars and several officers patrolling the grounds on foot or bicycle. The majority of those patrolling were ordinary citizens with no arrest power.
Also, several officers were also cross-trained as firefighters and medical personnel to give even greater safety to the residents and guests of Lakeside, Ohio.
Lakeside Policing Today
The late 1990s may have been the time of the most diverse staff ever employed by the security department, but the department was forced to change with the economy.
The Lakeside Security Department no longer hangs onto the traditions of the past, with the patrol cars leaving and the traditional uniform.
Patrols today are conducted by a downsized outfit, primarily in golf carts and a marked patrol pickup truck.
The current uniform is polo shirts and shorts (in the summer months) or slacks (in winter). However, safety services maintains an exemplary safety record and ensures crime stays at an almost non-existent level year round.
Mind, Body and Spirit
The low levels of crime make Lakeside the perfect place to get back in touch with your spirituality and cleanse you mind, body and spirit.
A Safe Place to Visit
The impeccable safety of Lakeside Chautauqua can be attested to by anyone who has visited, including one member of the Nigerian Embassy who traveled here last summer:
“Last summer, I vacationed at Lakeside, Ohio, a community on the shore of Lake Erie. My kids played along the beach of the world’s largest fresh-water lake, while I relaxed or played tennis. My family enjoyed free daily concerts from orchestras and performers. Free lectures on historical and scientific topics were also offered. I marveled that despite having nearly 10,000 summer residents, crime is seldom heard of, and bicycles are often left about unlocked.”
This marvel of peace, safety and tranquility is due in large part to the proud men and women who have served as police and security personnel throughout the Chautauqua community’s history.