Mutual aid agreement inked for Florala, Lockhart

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Florala City Council on Monday approved plans to have city attorney Wes Laird draw up a contract for a mutual aid agreement between the city, the Town of Lockhart and Covington County.

In November, concerns were raised about the liability of Florala police officers responding to calls in county and Lockhart jurisdictions.

Councilwoman Ann Eason said then a contract was needed to protect those officers responding to calls outside of the city.

“If our officers, which we are paying, have to leave our city to respond to a call in Lockhart, they should be paid,” Eason said. “If we provide police protection to Lockhart, then Lockhart should assume that liability and those costs.”

Florala Police Chief Sonny Bedsole said that Lockhart Mayor Eugene Birge was in agreement, and the council approved numbers in December.

The agreement calls for Lockhart to pay for 125 calls per year at $25 per call. Bedsole said Birge agreed to the figure.

“(Birge) also said Lockhart would assume the liability for our officers when they’re in Lockhart, and that he’d pay for 2013, too,” Bedsole said.

Also in November, Councilwoman Hazel Lee raised the question of having the same contract with the Covington County Sheriff’s Office for FPD officers responding to calls for service within the county jurisdiction.

On Monday, Florala Mayor Robert Williamson said the mutual aid agreement was a step the League of Municipalities suggested the city take.