Geauga Lake police bill passes house, expected to clear senate

Posted Wednesday, April 6, 2005 9:58 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Geauga Lake, the amusement park that straddles Geauga and Portage counties, would be able to hire its own police force under a bill that passed the Ohio House of Representatives on Tuesday. Representatives approved 91-2 and forwarded to the Ohio Senate the measure sponsored by state Rep. Matthew Dolan, R-Novelty, that would permit amusement park police officers, at the park's expense, to attend the same training schools as other police officers and have full police powers.

Read more from The Youngstown Vindicator.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2005 10:48 AM
beast7369's avatar What I am curious about is how Cedar Point was and is able to have their own "police force" but not other amusement parks in Ohio? That was kind of odd to me.

Nevermind the article answered that question.
*** This post was edited by beast7369 4/6/2005 10:50:25 AM ***

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Wednesday, April 6, 2005 11:21 AM
Rihard's avatar I suppose that CP is the only park that has ever tried to have a police force of their own.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2005 11:22 AM
(how did Cedar Point...)
The same way that Capital University now has its own police force. In Ohio, private facilities can, in cooperation with local authorities, create their own sworn police departments if they jumo through all the right hoops. Geauga Lake is apparently a special case because unlike other Ohio amusement parks, its boundaries cross jurisdictional lines. Hence the additional hoop of getting an act of the State legislature passed.

Cedar Point isn't the only park to have its own police force, but it may be the only one in Ohio that does. I'm guessing that Kings Island didn't go that route because it *does* mean additional expense and liability to have your own police force...why do it if you can get adequate cooperation from the local police? I know Kings Island frequently has Mason police officers patrolling the grounds along with their own security force.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
*** This post was edited by RideMan 4/6/2005 11:26:26 AM ***

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Wednesday, April 6, 2005 11:25 AM
I think Kennywood has their own police too. They carry guns so.... Not sure though.... :)
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Wednesday, April 6, 2005 11:41 AM
Certain security officers at Dorney also carry guns, they are not their own police force. And its perfectly normal to see one or two South Whitehall township police cars sitting at the employee entrance.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2005 12:21 PM
Kennywood has security, but I'm not sure if they're a registered police force. Maybe if they "jumo" through those hoops, they can get approved? Jumo-ing must be a technical term for "get your own police dept." ;)

Just jokin' RideMan ...

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Wednesday, April 6, 2005 1:25 PM
I'm curious as to who the two legislators are who opposed it. Yes, I keep a close eye on Ohio politics for various and sundry reasons...

I found out who they were. Not surprising either :)*** This post was edited by millrace 4/6/2005 2:04:37 PM ***

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Wednesday, April 6, 2005 4:00 PM
Let's keep in mind something else. Cedar Point is a small town. On any given night they could have more than 10,000 temporary residents (between resort guests and employees). That is what sets it apart from other Ohio theme parks, and most other parks around the country.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2005 9:45 PM
Cool. I don't really think that they will need it though; a regular security force seems just fine, although I don't know for certain.
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Thursday, April 7, 2005 12:26 AM
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Thursday, April 7, 2005 12:28 AM
[Kings Island does in fact have there own police force. Working there for 7 years I saw them numerous times. However I do know it is not a very big force and that is why they hire Mason Police Officers as well.]
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Thursday, April 7, 2005 3:14 AM
Last year, while working at Geauga Lake, in addition to Security patrolling the park, I had seen both Bainbridge (sorry if I misspelled it)PD and county sheriffs in the park. I bet that paying your own officers is probably cheaper than hiring off duty officers from the communities Geauga Lake sits in.

I don't know how much police officers get payed for doing security work off duty, but I do know the pay is generally pretty good. The park may be not only saving some hassle by having its own police force, but it also may be saving money, having bonded officers on the park payroll, as opposed to contracting out.

I am just curious as to how the park will differentiate its official police officers and the regular security guards. But knowing some of the security staff, it will be good to see them get the extra benefits of being full officers.

-Sam

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Thursday, April 7, 2005 9:57 AM
Resort towns are complex when it comes to policing, especially if it's seasonal. (I have a friend who worked as a permanent officer at a major ski resort. They had 5 or 6 permanant officers, but would have to bring in 100+ officers for special events like New Years.) Having a seasonal police force hired by the Geauga Lake and approved by the neighbouring jurisdictions sounds like a great idea. It really helps the local communitees because they don't have to hire permanent staff (and pay all their benefits) for seasonal staff requirements.
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Sunday, April 10, 2005 9:16 PM
Yes, I believe that Kings Island does have their own Police force. Albeit as was mentioned above it is really small. Essentially, it is my understanding that they have a couple officers on duty at any given time in the park, to respond rapidly to emergencies. If they need back up, then they will call in the Mason police department. In short, the PKI Police help out security if a situation escalates and cuts down response time that it would take Mason to arrive on the scene.
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