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Dozier continues to look at police funding issue

The town of Dozier has had several applicants for the position of police chief, but no hire has been made as the town is still waiting on input from an attorney on the terms of a number of grants.

Dozier has been without a police chief since late March, when Terry Mears resigned.

Mears’s salary was partially funded by a COPS grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

At last month’s council meeting, the town agreed to consult with an attorney to clarify the requirements of the grant in order to avoid violating its terms and having to repay the grant from town funds.

The terms of the grants were submitted to John Peek, an Andalusia attorney, but he had not issued an opinion yet.

Mayor Buddy Dean said that the COPS grant runs out in June.

Dozier resident Jan Cook reiterated that the town’s first priority should be to satisfy the terms of the grant so that the town isn’t liable to repay the grant.

Dean said that applicants include Ronnie White, Heath Truman and David Butler, all of whom have previous law enforcement experience.

Cook also pointed out that training the town’s policeman to read water meters would allow part of his salary to be paid from the water system fund.

“It’s the same reason that a town clerk can be paid from the water system funds for doing water bills,” she said. “There isn’t anything wrong with it.”

As the town’s water system is its primary revenue generator, Cook said a move like that would allow for more flexibility in the town budget.

A motion was made to talk to the three candidates to make them aware that a hire may have to be made quickly if it is dictated by the terms of the grant.

Following Mears’s resignation, Dozier’s police equipment, including a police car, radar gear and other pieces of equipment, were stored at the Crenshaw County Jail.

Dean reported that almost all of that equipment was brought back to Dozier since the grants for it were awarded to Dozier and not the county.

“We brought the car back, and the other stuff should be brought back this week,” he said.

A camera that was in the car was funded through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, and it was reassigned to the Sheriff’s Department.

In other business, councilman Roger Moody proposed an ordinance that would give the town council the power to elect or appoint town officers for the current term (2012 to 2016), which passed with a 4-0 vote.  Councilman Robert Thomas abstained, saying he’d like to think about it before voting.

That responsibility previously rested with the mayor.

Dozier senior nutrition center director Ivey Jones also told the council that the center had been awarded $1,000 in funds from the state for new equipment, and she requested the purchase of three game tables, a treadmill, a scale and a copying machine.

The council approved the purchases up to $1,000 from the general fund, which will be reimbursed with the funds from the state.

Jones also said that she had been approached by a benefactor who wished to remain anonymous and who wished to make a donation to the center.

She said that the person was willing to donate $8,000 to the senior center, and she would see about arranging that donation.