Red Level PD gets new equipment

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Thanks to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and the Southeast Alabama Medical Center, the Town of Red Level's police department has new tools to help in traffic enforcement.

The department recently received an alcohol breath analyzer and a dual radar system, which totals up to $5,000 in new equipment.

"(The equipment) is for the city to use for the next three years, and if they continue our grant program for three years then the equipment is theirs," said Jack Chancey of the Southeast Alabama Medical Center.

Red Level Police Chief David Anderson said he is particularly grateful for the new equipment.

"We are definitely pleased to receive (the equipment)," said Anderson. "This is going to help us out in our traffic enforcement and DUI enforcement, and especially during (an upcoming) Click it or Ticket campaign. We really appreciate the assistance that ADECA and (Chancey) of the Southeast Alabama Medical Center has given to us, it helps us out a lot."

Red Level Mayor Robert Foshee echoed Anderson's sentiments.

"We really appreciate the state working with us and providing equipment, and not only that, but coming up with the grant program and helping small towns out," said Foshee.

"We are glad to have (the grant money and equipment) and we can use it."

"Hopefully there will be more (grants and equipment) to come," added Anderson.

Anderson noted that another Click it or Ticket campaign for the town is slated for August 30 and 31 and Sept. 1 and 2.

Chancey said the new equipment will be useful not only for seat belt enforcement, but also for speeding and DUI enforcement during the upcoming campaign.

"Our philosophy is that if we can keep people out of our emergency rooms and out of our hospital by providing monies to the local law enforcements, it helps the cities and it also helps the citizens," said Chancey. "If a citizen gets a ticket, it will remind him or her that they need to wear their seat belt or to slow down. It helps the city, because they don't have the funds for overtime. We provide the overtime and we pay the city the overtime plus fringe benefits.

I think everybody wins with the (grant) situation."

Chancey said his department has also had the opportunity to work with towns such as Andalusia and Opp on various grant programs.

Anderson said any type of financial assistance is always welcome by his department.

"Anything that we can get that can take the burden off the city and bring revenue to the city, I will do whatever I can to get that," said Anderson.

"Chief Anderson and the City of Red Level has done an excellent job with the funds we have provided to them and we will be allocating new funds hopefully in the near future," said Chancey.

Anderson said he is looking forward to putting the new equipment to use in the near future.

"Hopefully we will have the equipment ready for work this weekend, and we will be out enforcing the traffic laws" said Anderson.

The police chief said that campaigns in the past such as Click it or Ticket have proven very successful in the past, but emphasized that the main motive behind the campaigns is not to simply write tickets.

"We are not out here to give everybody a ticket, but we're here to make sure that everybody arrives alive to wherever their destination may be," said Anderson. "We work a lot of accidents around the County Road 82 intersection at the caution light, and our department has worked several fatalities or accidents with injuries. I would rather stop a person and they have their seat belt on,

and me just say thank you as to write them a ticket."

Foshee said that obviously one of his major goals as mayor is making sure that Red Level residents and that drivers who pass through the town are safe.

"There is no doubt about it that (safety is a main concern)," said Foshee. "I am concerned about safety and prevention (of accidents and fatalities). If (residents) know we have the new equipment,

and we say we are going to be using it, you can pretty well bet we are going to be using it. We have got some state of the art equipment, which is also something that might help (the town) stay out of some litigation in court."

Joe Ptomey of the Alabama State Troopers, who acts as a liaison between ADECA and the Southeast Alabama Medical Center and local agencies, said grant programs have benefited agencies statewide.

"(The grant program) has not only been a success locally, but statewide since we initiated the Click it or Ticket grants," said Ptomey. "Our seat belt rate statewide has gone from the 50s to the 70s, and we are about 79 percent seat belt usage and fatalities the last three years statewide have gone down.We are still on the increase as far as underage drinking,

and (cutting that number down) will be a statewide focus. We don't want to put kids in jail, but we do want to save their lives."

Ptomey said the problem with underage drinking is not confined to any certain part of the state.

"(Underage drinking) is a statewide problem and a national problem," said Ptomey. "It is not the rich kids or the poor kids, and it is not just the city or country kids. It is just a fact of life that kids are going to experiment."

He said he is glad to see the support that the state has for various law agencies.

"Homeland security is really being pushed now, and I hope the federal government realizes

that the work of smaller law agencies is homeland security," said Ptomey. "I think we have a tendency to look at the FBI and CIA and emergency management, but I think sometimes we are looking at the wrong end."

Anderson said the fact that the smaller agencies tend to combine their efforts is also a big help.

"I don't have the personnel that some agencies have, but I get together with some agencies like River Falls and Gantt and then we bring in some (Sheriff's Department) deputies," said Anderson. "We all work together and we have to work together. Law enforcement is a real close knit family, and if you don't support your own family, then you are not doing what you are supposed. You have to help each other."