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Ludlow: 2 Narcotics Dogs on Patrol; 2 Suspicious Fires at One Address

It was revealed in the Ludlow City Council meeting on Thursday night that two recent fires at the same address on Elm Street and on the same day were both believed to be set intentionally, said Ludlow Fire Chief Rob Dreyer.

“Neither one was unintentional, they were both set on purpose,” Dreyer said.  “A lot of times we can tell that a fire was intentionally started, but we don’t necessarily know who or why."

He said there have been times when an arson was committed in the city and sometimes the fire department may suspect certain individuals were involved, but that the Commonwealth's Attorneys say that they can’t do anything with the lack of evidence at hand.

“There are all kinds of things that have to fall into place for us to actually prosecute people. In this case we know how it was set and where it was set, but there were no eyewitnesses and we have no proof. We did our due diligence that day, we tried to find things, find patterns, we even went as far as looking at the surveillance cameras of some businesses on the Elm Street in the alleys and things like that to see if we could pick up characters who may be involved, and unfortunately, we were unsuccessful,” Dreyer said.

The investigation is officially closed until further evidence or information comes to light.

Other notes:

The Ludlow Fire Department was awarded a $35,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant that will go toward purchasing an extrication machine used to pull injured or trapped drivers from their vehicles.

The footbridge on Deverill Street near Carlisle Fields is in bad shape and is deemed not fit to walk on. Public Works Project Manager Patrick Walkenhorst said that he is in favor of demolishing the footbridge and at least temporarily making the adjacent park drive-to only, but City Councilman Bill Mullins said that there needs to be some kind of walkway through there because it is safety concern without one. He said that it might be possible down the road to tie in plans for a footbridge with the expected Riverfront Commons development that will run parallel with the Ohio River.

It was the first month on the job for new Police Chief Scott Smith who now oversees a force that features two narcotic canine units. The Ludlow Police hired officer Jim Black who previously worked in the Dayton Police Department, and Black brought his dog to work with the department in a narcotics-only role. Ludlow Police have leased the dog for three years. Now with two dogs, there will be one made available seven days a week. 

“Having two narcotic dogs should tell criminals not to bring drugs into this city. You would have to be crazy to transport drugs into our city.  This should be a huge deterrent,” Smith said.

Smith also said that his department plans on being very active on social media based on the heavy circulation that the recent Subway robbery had within Facebook. 

Mayor Ken Wynn said that if the report on the archaeological dig that was necessary for the Riverfront Commons project to move forward in Ludlow is returned within the next two and a half weeks, the construction on the project could start as early as late September. The second phase of the project is expected to head west all the way to Ash Street once the phase is complete.

“It’s exciting that it’s finally happening, and I can’t wait to get started,” Wynn said.

A first reading was held at the meeting to fix the real estate tax rate. Wynn said that he was in favor of taking the compensation rate plus the 4 percent increase that the city is allowed to raise the rate. A second reading is expected to take place in the September business meeting.

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor