Brown selected as new School Resource Officer
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA – Sylacauga Police veteran Officer Harry Brown has been selected to fill the city’s new School Resource Officer position.

Beginning in August, Brown will serve with longtime SRO Willie Kidd to provide full-time safety patrols at city schools. Kidd will cover Sylacauga High and Pinecrest Elementary schools, and Brown will serve Nichols-Lawson Middle and Indian Valley Elementary schools.

The city and BOE agreed Brown, currently an A-watch patrol officer, was the man for the job after a thorough interview process, Police Chief Chris Carden said Wednesday.

“We had several applicants for the position, and some of our staff members met with BOE staff for an extensive interview process with each of the candidates,” Carden said. “The BOE then made a recommendation, and we agreed with it.”

The additional three-year SRO position was approved by the city and Board of Education in January. The officer will be staffed by the Police Department with annual costs for salary and benefits to be split between the BOE and city at $22,500 each. Those funds will cover expenses for an entry-level officer to fill the position vacated by Brown. The two entities will pay a one-time cost of $8,800 to purchase an SRO vehicle as well.

Carden previously told the BOE that adding a second SRO “is important, not only to the board, but to the parents (of students in the system)” for improved safety and visibility of law enforcement. In February, Kidd said a typical day as an SRO involves talking to students and school staff to monitor potential issues and doing home visits. Kidd said SROs bridge the gap between police, schools and juvenile courts.

“In the past, it was either an incident happened in school or it happened in the street, and the two didn’t intersect at all,” Kidd said. “With the SRO, you know what’s going on in school and on the street to give everybody a better understanding of what students are dealing with, because their life continues beyond the school day.”

Brown will attend SRO certification training July 22-26 in Montgomery, as approved by the City Council during its meeting Wednesday. The registration fee is $495 plus meals, with the BOE reimbursing $300 of that cost.

Also during Wednesday’s City Council meeting, the council:

• Approved a residency requirement change for firemen, extending the limit from within a 10-mile radius of the city to “within 60 minutes lawful driving time of City Hall Fire Station No. 1 by the most direct route.” Fire Chief Matt Missildine said the extended range is intended to attract a larger applicant pool of trained personnel.

• Approved a $502,200 bid to NAAFCO for a new fire truck, with a $12,550 discount for pre-paying, bringing the total to $489,600.

• Approved procedures allowing the city to bid projects, solicit quotes and perform other tasks relative to the City Hall renovation project.

• Approved Lathan Architects to solicit bids for replacement of the HVAC system at J. Craig Smith Community Center and authorized work once bid is complete.

• Authorized and approved amended budget items from the Fire Department to allow for purchase of a web-based records management system at a cost of $1,932 and two tablet computers at $4,505 to be used in fire vehicles, plus an $80 monthly air-card fee.

• Authorized $19 to Walmart as court-ordered restitution collected from Bessy Williams by Municipal Court; $1,000 each to Lynn Borden and Geraldine Twyman as refund of a court-ordered cash bond paid on behalf of Patrick Twyman; and $1,000 to Sarah Murphy as refund of a court-ordered cash bond paid on behalf of Jessica Pardue.

• Approved expenses for Police Chief Chris Carden to attend the 2013 Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police Conference July 28-Aug. 1 in Orange Beach for $200, plus additional costs for lodging, travel and meals.

• Approved expenses for City Clerk-Treasurer Patricia Carden to attend the AAMCA Conference June 20-21 in Mobile for a $125 fee, plus lodging, travel and meals.

• Authorized payments totaling $48,621.78 for accounts payable invoices in May.

• Approved modification of AT&T cell phone towers at 255 Christy Lane and 105 East Second Street to allow for a 4G signal.

• Deleted an item from the agenda to adopt an ordinance granting easement to the Utilities Board to relocate a sewer line under Legion Stadium. Councilman Tom Roberts said the ordinance was not ready for approval.

• Declared three keyboard, six Gateway computers, a color monitor and a Lexmark printer as surplus property and authorized disposal.

• Approved a change of address for the Restaurant Retail Liquor license for JR’s Sports Bar and Grill from 42071 U.S. 280 to 704 W. Ft. Williams St.

• Approved a request from FedEx to locate a drop box at 126 N. Norton Ave.

• Heard Chamber of Commerce Director Carol Bates announce the next “Celebrate Sylacauga” block party will be held May 3, 2014. She also said the community garden is hosting “Dinner Under the Stars” at 7:30 p.m. on June 26, and $10 tickets are available from the Chamber now.

• Heard Councilman Tom Roberts say the REACH Youth Camp will be in Sylacauga next week repairing homes and Council President Rocky Lucas announce a blood drive at Alabama Power today from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

• Heard Councilman Shannon Darby announce a summer arts camp for children at Verlie Collins Center beginning June 10 and a District 2 community meeting on June 11 at 6 p.m. at Verlie Collins. Darby also commended the Street Department for its recent good work.

• Approved minutes from its May 22 meeting.

The next regular council meeting is June 18 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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© 2013