Chief, BOE discuss grant for resource officers
by Chris Norwood
TALLADEGA — The City Board of Education heard a presentation Monday night from Police Chief Alan Watson regarding a possible partnership to provide two school resource officers through a Community Oriented Policing Service grant. The board agreed to take the proposal under advisement, but did not take any action Monday.

Watson pointed out that a bill in the state legislature that would have provided for a referendum on a tax to fund a resource office had failed.

The COPS grant would provide 75 percent of the pay and benefits for two police officers. One would be stationed at Talladega High School and the other would float between Zora Ellis Junior High School and the elementary schools. The board would be responsible for the 25 percent match, while the city would provide the new officers with training, uniforms, equipment and vehicles.

Watson estimated the cost to the board would be about $11,000 per officer per year. The grant funding would last for three years, and the city would be responsible for keeping the officers on for at least another year after the grant expires.

Time is of the essence, however, he said since the grant application must be in no later than May 22. The City Council will hold a called meeting today at 3:30 p.m. to modify the COPS grant proposal they had previously signed off on, according to City Manager Brian Muenger, who was also present at the board meeting.

In response to a question from Superintendent Doug Campbell, Watson said the grant was competitive, but he believed the chances of it being awarded were excellent. The Talladega City System is currently the only one in the county that does not have a resource officer. He said the announcement should come by June or July. The new officers would then have to be trained, and could be at the schools by December.

Board member James Braswell called the proposal a “win-win” and a “no-brainer.”

Campbell said the board would take the proposal under advisement, possibly at a called meeting later this week.

During the same meeting, the board spent nearly two hours in executive session to discuss issues of good name and character before taking up the personnel actions. As a result, a non-renewal that was part of the superintendent’s recommendation was removed from the list. The remainder of the list was not available Monday night, but will be available today.

The vote to approve the remaining personnel actions was 4-0, because board member Shirley Simmons-Sims was absent.

Also Monday, the board:

• Heard a report from Sharon Burton of First Family Service regarding the Life Skills program for sixth graders. The Callie’s Kids Foundation paid for the program this year.

• Presented a plaque to the family members of Carolyn Pointer, the Child Nutrition Program Manager for Talladega High School from 1996 to 2012. She died in 2012.

• Heard a complaint from a parent who said her child will not be allowed to walk at graduation because he defended himself against bullies. The board took no action.

• Agreed to sell .275 acres on Bingham Street to the city of Talladega for $1,200, and the remaining 1.525 acres to Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church $6,100. Muenger said the city has no immediate plans for its portion, but said the property might be needed for expansion at a nearby well in the future.

Contact Chris Norwood at cnorwood@dailyhome.com

© 2013