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City reviews crime task force ideas

The Selma City Council has heard its citizens’ concerns about crime, and it’s ready to do something about it.

Ralph Joseph, reverend of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, spoke to the council at its Monday meeting about worries Selma residents have about crime. &uot;I’m not just bringing a message from ministers, and I’m not just bringing you a message from the same people you hear all the time,&uot; Joseph said. &uot;I’m bringing you grass roots material.&uot;

Joseph’s material came in the form of petitions from Selmians who want the crime task force’s recommendations implemented. After handing the list to Council President George Evans, Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw said she had a list of petitions as well, which she would present to him in the future.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. created the crime task force at the city’s first town hall meeting on crime in October. The task force, which has members from each ward, returned in December with recommendations on fighting crime. Recommendations included creating a youth curfew.

Evans said that the council supported all the recommendations. He added that the curfew was currently being examined.

The council’s public safety committee discussed the curfew at its Monday meeting. Committee members examined the possibility of changing the curfew’s hours, its implementation and constitutionality. Discussion is scheduled to continue at the committee’s March 8 meeting.

Crenshaw added the discussion could require a special meeting. Councilwoman Rita Sims Franklin agreed, but noted that it could occur at a workshop meeting.

Later in the meeting council members agreed to meet about the task force’s recommendations on March 2 at 5 p.m. They’re also expected to discuss a statement of work, which will be sent to consultants interested in performing an evaluation of the Selma Police Department.

In other matters the council:

Presented Hazel Salter, former beautification committee chairperson, a gift for her contribution to keeping Selma beautiful. &uot;I’ve had a lot of help,&uot; Salter said. &uot;I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done.&uot;

Discussed an ordinance which would forbid people from playing basketball on Selma streets. It’s expected the ordinance will be discussed at the next public safety committee meeting.

Heard from Perkins about the Alatax sales tax report. According to Perkins, Alatax representatives apologized for any confusion they had caused concerning tax information presented to the council at its Jan. 26 meeting. &uot;They apologized, and I accepted,&uot; Perkins said. &uot;I’m ready to move on.&uot;

Heard from Councilman James Durry about the Ward 8 crime task force meeting. The meeting will occur at Second Baptist Church, 2809 Hardie Ave., at 6 p.m. on March 1. Members of the Fourth Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Selma Police Department are expected to make presentations.