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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Victim of fatal Pleasanton fire identified by police

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

PLEASANTON – In his report to the Pleasanton City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 27, Police Chief Tristan Snyder reported on a fatal fire on Dec. 15. The city fire department and two county departments were called to fight the blaze at 405 Center St. on Dec. 15.

A resident of the home, 64-year-old Richard Johnson, died as a result of the fire, according to police.

In a separate statement, city Fire Chief Rob Dent said there was no evidence that the fire was intentionally set, it was being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and that the investigation was ongoing.

In addition Snyder reported that of the 13 arrests that were made in the past month, six of those were on drug-related charges. Of the drug cases, three were felonies and three were misdemeanors.

He also told the council that officers would be working on the STEP program through Jan. 2. Under that program officers would be looking at enforcing laws including seat-belt violations and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The police chief said that while he had not compiled year-end numbers for 2022, the number of arrests, calls and arrests were up from 2021.

Councilwoman Melanie Staton questioned Snyder about aggressive enforcement, adding she was concerned that the overkill might keep people from coming into Pleasanton. She used the examples of truck drivers avoiding speed traps and the department’s focus on drug arrests.

The chief said that of the six arrests for drugs in past month, three were arrests of Pleasanton residents and two search warrants were for searches in the city.

Police Chief Tristan Snyder, left, and Charles Stokes, right, join Officer Mason Roberts at the graduation ceremony from the academy. (Screen capture/Pleasanton, Kansas Facebook page)

Snyder also updated the council on the status of his three officers and their training. Officer Mason Roberts graduated from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center on Dec. 9. Officer Ivan Squire got an early one-week start of his training the week before Christmas and is expected to graduate in early April.

Charles Stokes, who is currently serving as codes and animal-control officer but will join the police force, will start training in January and will graduate in late April.

With Stokes moving to the police department, the city will need to fill the codes officer position. City Administrator Teresa Whitaker said she planned to talk to part-time La Cygne codes Officer Alison Fox about working part-time for Pleasanton. She said Fox had indicated she might be interested in the job.

Snyder also told the council that the two police cars the city ordered had been delivered and the department was working on getting them equipped.

Fire Chief Rob Dent submitted a request to make end-of-year equipment purchases for his department.

The council approved the purchase of bunker gear through the Linn County Rural Fire Department for just over $2,900 and the purchase of several pieces of equipment, including a battery-powered saw for about $4,500 after the 10% discount.

Dent said the battery-powered saws were more reliable than gas-powered chain saws, an important quality when a firefighter was up on a ladder trying to make a cut to fight a fire.

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