American Legion Names HPD’s Howard Officer of the Year

Hilliard police officer Joshua Howard has been named the Hilliard American Legion Law Officer of the Year for his efforts on- and off-duty helping a local homeless family in need.

He was recently recognized by Post 614’s leaders, who learned of Howard’s actions via a resident’s social media post.

In December 2020, Officer Howard was working third-shift patrol when he stopped by an area gas station for a business visit. He noticed a vehicle in the lot with a mother and two school-aged children inside.

After speaking with the family, Officer Howard learned that they were homeless and had been living in their car. The mother lost her job in the pandemic, and the children (who were required to attend school virtually) required constant attention, keeping her from being able to find new employment. As a result, they lost their home.

Officer Howard organized an effort to support this family. He and some fellow officers pooled money to purchase a hotel room for the family. A local resident who witnessed this account shared about it on social media, which led to other community members coming together to ensure the family could enjoy the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Over the next couple months Officer Howard continued to contribute to the family. He and his wife personally ensured they had a hotel room and many meals. Citizens dropped off various retail gift cards to buy meals and virtual school supplies, and area restaurants donated food.

Additionally, the Hilliard Davidson High School cafeteria team contributed a total of 72 hot meals for the family. Officer Howard and his wife bought gifts for the children so they would have something to open on Christmas morning.

Moving into 2021, Officer Howard has continued to help create a sustainable future for the family by connecting them with resources for employment, housing, schooling, and mental wellness.

Officer Howard joined HPD in December 2017. Previously, he had enrolled in the Division’s Citizen’s Police Academy with the desire to become a chaplain for HPD. Instead, he felt the calling to become a police officer and was selected to begin the process to serve with Hilliard police.

“This is a great example of the efforts that police officers pour into their communities to help those in need,” said former Chief of Police Robert Fisher, who nominated Howard for the award prior to his retirement. “Officer Howard truly epitomizes a selfless servant and demonstrates a true heart for others.”

The HPD team is committed to creating and fostering a tremendous relationship with the community, added Chief of Police Eric Grile.

“It is this heart for service and a demonstrated compassion for our community that has allowed the members of HPD to create long-lasting bonds with our community,” he said. “Being able to make a difference in the lives of those we serve makes our community stronger and allows us to have a strong partnership for safety.”

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City Launches Sidewalk Maintenance Program to Improve Safety and Accessibility

January 30, 2023

SAFE Sidewalks are coming to Hilliard as part of the City’s new sidewalk maintenance program that provides “Safe Access for Everyone.”

Starting this spring, the City is launching the SAFE Sidewalk Program to evaluate all 200 miles of Hilliard sidewalks, identify areas for improvement, and make repairs as necessary. This program will be an ongoing effort over the next decade to improve the image and livability of Hilliard.

The process began in May 2022, when the condition of sidewalks, trails, and curb ramps were surveyed and inventoried to prioritize repair and maintenance. This information was used to help the City prioritize where repairs are most needed and to ensure all City sidewalks are kept in the best condition. The first neighborhood to benefit from the sidewalk maintenance program will be the Avery subdivision.

In Hilliard (and most other communities), property owners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks adjacent to their properties. Exceptions include when the damage causing the repairs is created by roots from City-owned trees in the public right-of-way or defects caused by manhole covers or utilities. The City also is responsible for repairs and accessibility compliance on curb ramps. When the City identifies a sidewalk in need of repair, the property owner receives written notice of the required work, along with the estimated cost.

Ohio Revised Code Chapter 729.01 describes Ohio property owner responsibilities relating to sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

Hilliard property owners have two options when it comes to repairing their sidewalks:

  • Allow the City to perform the repairs and bill them for the work. (Opt-In) Most residents will benefit from this option because allowing the City gets cost savings based on competitive bidding for the large number of annual repairs in the community. Additionally, the City handles the coordination, scheduling and quality control related to the work. Property owners may elect to have the cost spread out over a 5-year, zero interest term through a special assessment on their property taxes.
  • Make the repairs on their own. (Opt-Out) This work must meet all required City of Hilliard code and standards. Should your sidewalk be identified for repair or replacement, you will be asked to make the repairs within approximately four months. If the work has not been performed by the provided deadline the City will perform the work, with costs billed or assessed back to the property owner. Opting out does not remove the requirement that the sidewalk needs to be improved, it only means that you do not wish to have the improvements made by the City’s contractor.

Watch the video above and visit https://hilliardohio.gov/sidewalk-maintenance/ to learn more.

Choose Hilliard: IC3D Printers

January 26, 2023

On this Choose Hilliard episode, we introduce you to IC3D, one of Hilliard’s newest tech companies and a partner with Hilliard City Lab.

This full-service 3D printing manufacturer started in a basement back in 2012 and now owns the largest 3D printers in Central Ohio.

Through Hilliard City Lab, Converge Technologies (a high-tech commercialization incubator) and the City of Hilliard are partnering to promote technology growth and innovation through Hilliard City Lab.

Through this collaboration, the Hilliard becomes a lab for testing new technologies and supporting start-ups that are ready to advance their innovative ideas and products. Using the City’s infrastructure, fiber optic network, sensor technology and real-time analytics, the City and Converge have already assisted several companies in moving from prototype to commercial product.

To learn more about how Hilliard City Lab can benefit your business, visit: https://hilliardohio.gov/city-lab/

New Car Design, Same HPD

January 12, 2023

Hilliard police cars are getting an updated look.

The City of Hilliard Division of Police is introducing four new cruisers with an updated design this week.

The design incorporates the Division’s police badge and the City’s distinctive “Hilliard blue” color on an all-black vehicle.

The previous black and white design required the doors be painted white. Removing that requirement saves valuable time and money, said Chief of Police Michael Woods.

“Although this design will look different to our residents, we want them to know it’s the same Hilliard police providing the same public safety services,” Chief Woods said. “We’re excited for this new design.”
Woods expects it will be a few years before every cruiser is replaced in the rotation, meaning that residents can expect to see two different cruiser designs for a period.

The redesign is the Division’s first since 2012.

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