Police study released

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

The consultant hired to conduct a $48,000 police study unveiled his recommendations publicly Monday.

Dr. Ralph Ioimo of Public Safety Consultants Inc., Wetumpka, listed about 17 items needed for improvement of the Selma Police Department. Among those listed &045; more training and a public safety building.

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Ioimo stressed the need for the city to develop a strong training program inside its department, including creation of a coordinator with a strong interest in training, a field training officer program that would assign a rookie officer to a senior officer for mentoring and additional outside training.

The city also needs to improve its recruiting, Ioimo said, stressing that other cities also have challenges with recruiting.

Some cities, such as Dallas, go to universities and colleges to recruit before students graduate.

Selma is feeling the effect of the crisis, he said, adding the department should create a recruiting team that goes out to universities and colleges to get more officers on board.

And more officers are needed in Selma, said Ioimo, who explained the crime rate is very high because of the police jurisdiction that extends outside the city’s corporate limits.

While crime is high, it is not in the realm of murders or rapes, the consultant said, but more along the lines of theft and robbery.

The crime rate tends to require more officers.

Right now the city has about 30 on board. He recommended the city hire at least 60 officers.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. said 60 officers are provided for in the city’s budget, and the city is actively recruiting more police officers.

Among short-term goals, hiring a new police chief should top the list.

This individual said Ioimo should have strong management skills and be able to reach into the community and work with the community, the council, the mayor and his or her officers.

Ioimo said the city should look into building a public safety complex. The money could come from federal sources, such as Homeland Security grants, if the building housed all aspects of public safety and not just the police department.

Council member Cecil Williamson of Ward 1 suggested the council think about using some of the upcoming bond issue money, if approved by voters in February, to help build the public safety complex.

Perkins said the full report would be available on the city’s Web site at http://www.selma-al.gov/home.html.