Mudding damage leads to policy on damaged, stolen property

Published 12:07 am Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Covington County Commission on Wednesday adopted a policy for dealing with damaged or stolen property.

The issue arose in October, after the sheriff’s department was called to assess damage on a Braswell Road caused by students who were mud riding. Sheriff Dennis Meeks said his department spent considerable time investigating the issue, but the students were told by Commissioner Harold Elmore they could pay the county $500 for repairs and no charges would be brought.

“It was six young boys, and they were sorry for what they done,” Elmore said. “They just got off and done something they didn’t need to do. They apologized.”

Meeks said at the time of the investigation, the deputy could not drive through the destruction on the road without risking being in a ditch.

“He had to park and walk down to where they were,” Meeks said. Meeks said the students could have been charged with criminal mischief.

As a result, county attorney Stacy Brooks wrote the new policy, which requires employees to report issues of stolen or damaged property to their supervisor. The supervisor will in turn notify the appropriate law enforcement agency. If the agency determines the individual should be prosecuted, it will go through the court system. Brooks explained that any compromises must be voted upon by commissioners.

In other business, the commission:

• Agreed to compensate Ebenezer Baptist Church $350 for a sign damaged by road crews. The sign was on county right-of-way. Commissioners encouraged Billy Henley, who addressed the issue, to have the new sign placed off the county right-of-way.

“I’m for helping y’all replace this,” Commissioner Carl Turman said. “But being on the right of way, this happened with us with our church. We thought we were back off the state right of way. My son works for them. The took our sign up, took it, and we ain’t got it, yet.”

• Heard a request from Karinne Simmons of the Human Resource Development Group for funding. The agency reimburses in-home day cares for feeding nutritious meals and snacks.

• Renewed its contract with the City of Andalusia to accept stray animals from the county.

• Agreed to participate in the 2016 Severe Weather Tax Holiday.

• Changed the Florala voting precinct from the old National Guard Armory to the Rodney J. Evans Civic Center.

• Rescinded a lodging and meal policy it approved in September.

• Met in closed session to discuss the terms of a lease.