Council poised to approve SRO program

Published 8:33 pm Monday, May 13, 2019

During its work session Monday, the Selma City Council indicated that a plan to institute a School Resource Officer (SRO) program in Selma would likely come up for a vote during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Selma Police Department (SPD) Chief Spencer Collier stated that the agreement could be altered to add no expense to city accounts.

“I believe in this,” Collier said. “I believe it’s necessary.”

Email newsletter signup

“I do too,” said Selma City Councilman John Leashore.

Selma City Councilwoman Miah Jackson noted that the city is already providing the local school system with more than $2.25 million annually, more than $180,000 of which comes from taxes on cigarettes and alcohol – Jackson said some of that money could be allocated to make up any additional costs that the SRO program might incur.

The council also heard from Faya Rose Toure, who voiced her contempt for the actions of local police officers and the practice by “white supremacists” of placing Confederate flags on cemetery property.

“We have made a lot of progress, but we still have a lot of problems,” Toure said.

Toure accused local police officers of not responding to her complaints regarding ongoing death threats, as well as the treatment she received during an arrest last year – she was not allowed to make arrangements for her car, which was towed to a private business despite being parked in a legal parking spot, and was forced to leave her 11-year-old granddaughter on the side of the road.

“I just want some justice,” Toure said, noting that she has filed suit against The Selma Times-Journal for reporting on her arrest but not on the actions of “white supremacists” in Selma. “I just want to be treated fairly.”

Will Barrett of Civil Southeast, LLC also addressed the council on an Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) loan he has secured for drainage work on Old Orrville Road in Ward 1.

The loan covers $350,000 worth of work – the city would be on the hook for $175,000 over 20 years, or roughly $10,000 annually.

The council also discussed a recent finance report submitted by the mayor’s office which indicates several irregularities.

According to the document, also council members, aside from Jackson, have received a $700 raise – Jackson’s pay has been cut by $8,000 – though none have received an increased salary.

At least two city employees are receiving two salaries, which is not allowed according to the Alabama League of Municipalities, and roughly $500,000 is being spent to pay 64 Parks and Recreation Department employees.

“I’m really concerned,” Jackson said. “This is going to hinder us in a great way.”