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Adriel incidents alarm neighbors

School officials, police assure safety to community

Statistically, officers of the West Liberty Police Department respond to about 19 calls for service per month at Adriel School, the facility for troubled youths located at 414 N. Detroit St., West Liberty.

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Residents at 417 N. Detroit St., West Liberty, are concerned about the number of juveniles running away from the campus of neighboring Adriel School for troubled youths. (EXAMINER PHOTO | NATE SMITH)

About half of those calls are for youths who have walked away from campus and can’t be immediately located. Administrators are legally required to notify police anytime a youth walks away from campus, but insist they pose no violent threat to village residents.

West Liberty Police Chief Shane Oelker acknowledges officers from his department spend a good deal of time responding to calls for service from Adriel, but says he’s never seen or heard any youth make violent threats toward any village resident.

“We consider it a preferred arrest anytime our officers respond to Adriel campus for a runaway or combative youth,” Chief Oelker said. “We transport the juveniles to the Logan County Juvenile Detention Center for their own safety.

“I’ve never heard any juvenile, even if they’ve been kicking or punching at Adriel staff or officers, threaten violence towards the community at all.”

Wendy and Brian LeVan and their two children have lived across the street from Adriel at 417 N. Detroit St. for more than seven years.

She says her family has witnessed multiple times Adriel youths running away from campus there, and her 10- and seven-year-old children have to be constantly supervised while they’re outside.

“My concern is that some of these children do have a history of criminal activity,” Mrs. LeVan said. “There should be more emphasis given to placing kids there that actually want to be there.

“If they’re escaping from campus — and some of them before have made it back to their home counties — then they shouldn’t be there.”

Web Editor's Note: This story has been edited for space.

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