Dozier tackles police chief hiring, funding issues

Published 10:49 am Thursday, April 11, 2013

Although applications have been received for the position of police chief in Dozier, Town Council voted at Monday night’s meeting to consult with an attorney concerning grants before proceeding with the hiring process.

Mayor Buddy Dean said that the town has received a number of grants from agencies like the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and the Department of Homeland Security to help fund police equipment in Dozier, and another grant to assist with a salary.

The town has been without a police chief since Terry Mears resigned late last month.

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Dean said the next step is clarifying the grants’ requirements to avoid violating the terms and having to pay a penalty.

Some of the grants supplement the town’s salary to a policeman for a set amount of time, and that provision could require the town to hire an officer to finish the funding period.

“We’ve got to have some legal advice,” he advised the council. “I think about all we can decide to do is table it until we have legal advice.”

The council approved a motion to set up a meeting with the law firm of Jones and Coots.

Crenshaw County Sheriff Charles West said on Monday that a police car, radar gear and other equipment obtained through ADECA grants is currently being stored at the Crenshaw County Jail.

The Dozier Town Council unanimously approved a motion to seek the return of the equipment to Dozier.

“The information that was given to me from the grant people was that if the grant came to Dozier, then the Town of Dozier owns that equipment,” Dean said.

Dean said that the town has adequate facilities to secure the equipment until the situation is resolved.

The council also discussed the need for the town to have its own policeman.

Sheriff West said at Monday’s County Commission meeting that deputies will continue to answer calls in throughout the county if they are dispatched.

Dean said it’s his understanding that the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Department sometimes operates with as few as two deputies on duty to cover the entire county, and having a local officer would speed up response times.

Town Clerk Ann Holland said that several people had turned in resumes for the position.

Holland also said that it would be beneficial to hold a financial meeting to examine available funding.

“Before you can hire a policeman, you have to see what you have to work with,” said councilman Roger Moody.