Florala council considers reserve police policies

Published 11:23 pm Thursday, January 15, 2009

Council members heard the first reading of an ordinance that would establish the guidelines for a reserve police force Monday.

Currently, the city has a number of reserve officers; however, they are operating without a policy stating any specific qualifications for a reserve officer or their specific duties.

New police chief Sonny Bedsole presented the ordinance that defined reserve officers as auxillaries to the police department.

“Reserve officers may perform patrol operations, but only in the company of a certified police officer,” he said. “They can direct traffic without supervision, but their main duty is to assist certified officers.”

Bedsole said reserve officers do not have the authority to arrest individuals and must undergo a background check and drug/alcohol screening.

“These officers provide a valuable service to the community,” he said. “Especially during times like the June 24th Celebration, but we need to have a policy in place.”

Councilman Danny Thames said he would like to see all police officers – both those currently employed with the department and those who might be in the future – undergo background checks.

Mayor Robert Williamson said that would be something the council could discuss at the next meeting.

The council is expected to adopt the ordinance after its second reading at the next meeting.

In other business, the council:

gave 60 days to the owners of Around the Corner Boutique to make repairs to their building, as well as gave 60 days to Jerry Lynn to remove the burnt out structure on Seventh Avenue.

renewed the contract for services with the Chamber of Commerce and set the fee schedule for the rental of the Old National Guard Armory.

appropriated $1,000 for constructing a city website.

appointed Sue Mathis to the Planning and Zoning Board to fill the term of councilman Jimmy Waldrop. The term is set to expire Sept. 16, 2010.

voted to repair the curbing on Martin Luther King Street.

approved a requested from Chief Bedsole to complete National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliance as mandated by the federal government.

The next meeting of the Florala City Council is Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m.