Spencerville bridge

The DeKalb County Commissioners and Friends of the Spencerville Covered Bridge continue to look for answers in stopping vandalism at and around the bridge.

SPENCERVILLE — The County Commissioners and Friends of the Spencerville Covered Bridge are continuing to look for answers when it comes to stopping the vandalism taking place around the historic bridge.

The vandalism to the area was a topic of discussion at Monday’s DeKalb County Commissioners meeting after reports of a recent fire at the park, which sits at the east end of the bridge. A portable toilet, which sits in the park, was recently burned down.

In the past week, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department has also received three calls reporting vandalism around the structure.

Commissioner Mike Watson said the trend of continued vandalism in the area is concerning.

“We have substantial investment in the bridge,” he said. “We need to look at some rather aggressive things.”

The county and the Friends of the Spencerville Covered Bridge celebrated the reopening of the bridge in June after it had been closed to traffic since 2018. The structure was renovated during the closure and is now back open to traffic. The historic wooden bridge was built in 1873 and is one of only a few covered bridges left standing in the state.

Parke County in southern Indiana is home to several covered bridges.

The issue of how to stop the vandalism around the structure was discussed during the Sept. 20 commissioners meeting. At that time, there was talk of upgrading the video surveillance system around the bridge.

Representatives from the Friends of the Spencerville Covered Bridge are still working to find a vendor to supply the upgraded system for the project.

During the Sept. 20 meeting, the commissioners committed to paying for the installation of the cameras once they are purchased.

Sheriff Dave Cserep II said the cameras on site were instrumental in helping to identify suspects in recent vandalism around the area.

Watson suggested the area needs additional lighting to help deter vandals. The lighting will also help to pick up activity on the new surveillance system once installed.

Cserep said lights are a big deterrent for criminals.

“Cameras are next,” he said.

The new system would also provide for a live feed that could be monitored by DeKalb County Central Dispatch. This would allow for a quicker response if foul activity is happening in the area.

Commissioners President William Hartman believes one of the biggest deterrents to vandals would be a prosecution.

He said once the word gets out that vandals were prosecuted for their actions, it will help to slow down activity.

In wrapping up the discussion on Monday, the commissioners vowed to do everything in their power to help protect the bridge.

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(1) comment

Lassiter

It's a shame that such measures need implementation to deter vandalism at the Spencerville bridge. Lighting and surveillance cameras may help, but at the same time detract from the natural beauty of the structure and setting.

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