Waiting on City Hall

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 6, 2008

The issue: The police study has been given to the Selma City Council and made public.

Our position: It needs implementing now without any delay.

Taxpayers of Selma shelled out $48,000 for a study of the city’s police department.

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The results of that study weren’t devastating but they weren’t exactly complimentary of the police department.

Now, nearly a month later, no word has come from City Hall about what the citizens could expect next.

One of the key recommendations in the study: Hire a new police chief and attempt to hire one from outside the area.

Most recently, sources have indicated that a local man would be appointed to the position as Mayor James Perkins Jr. went through the motions of a search for a new candidate.

We’ve been told by members of the city council who are close to the mayor that’s not the case.

When representatives from the Times-Journal have asked the mayor for a response, he declines to go on the record with a timetable; he hasn’t made public his committee to help with the serach for a new police chief and he has referred questions about the search to the city’s to attorney Jimmy Nunn, who represents the city.

There are two basic issues here: The mayor needs to make the selection of a police chief very public. This will allay many fears that another appointment will be made that won’t work out. Additionally, other issues in the police study &045; the morale of officers, training of officers and a new public safety building &045; also should be addressed quickly.

Currently, Congress is considering cutting the amount and numbers of public safety grants available to states, counties and cities. Those who read the Selma police study know that it recommended the city seek out grants to help purchase equipment, provide training and build a new public safety complex.

By Mayor Perkins moving quickly and deliberately to implement the 17 recommendations of the study, he would gain badly needed credibility from Selma’s residents.