Leaky roof drops water on evidence room

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 24, 2008


The district attorney and others will have to deal with wet evidence from the Selma Police Department.

Water has dripped from the ceiling in several places in the evidence room on the third floor of the Cecil Jackson Public Safety Building.

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A reporter for The Selma Times-Journal asked to see the damage Friday, but was told he couldn’t gain access because his presence might compromise the validity of the evidence in court.

“Fancher Brothers checked it out,”said Lt. David Evans. “They said it’s going to be expensive.”

The public works bid laws require municipalities to take bids on projects in excess of $50,000, said City Clerk Lois Williams.

That wet evidence room will not compromise any cases, said District Attorney Michael Jackson.

“Unless a tidal wave hits the evidence room,” he said. “Most evidence is packaged up in some kind of way. It shouldn’t have affect on any of our cases.”

Acting chief Jimmy Martin doesn’t know the extent of the recent damage. “They’re in the process of getting it checked out,” he said. “We’ll get it fixed, whatever it takes.”

The leak comes after a repair to the roof of the building in 2006. Records in the city clerk’s office shows Stewart Construction was paid $74,989 in October 2006 for repairs to the police department and the fire department.

In February 2007, the public safety building received interior fixes. The city paid Malone Construction Co. $7, 285 to make repairs to the building on the inside. The city shelled out another $900 in July 2007 for more repairs. The budget for 2007 shows the city set aside $20,000 for building repairs and maintenance.

A $48,000 assessment of the Selma Police Department released late in 2007, pointed out the current building is in need of significant renovation and recommended construction of a new public safety facility to house the fire department, police department, emergency medical responders and city code enforcement.

The assessment, prepared by ?Public Safety Consultants Inc. of Wetumpka, noted that officers are convinced a mold problem exists in the building and it is causing employees to get sick. PSCI couldn’t determine if there was a problem with the building causing illness because the investigator had no expertise in the field.

However, the report noted “We were able to observe the building and recognize that there are many issues associated with the building, and that because of the building’s age, it is likely to require significant repairs and modification over time.”