Council questions PD training
RED BAY- For the second time in six months, Red Bay city council members raised questions Monday night about training courses that police officers there receive.
Red Bay Police Sgt. Scottie Belue provided council members with copies of training hours that officers took over the last three years.
"We train our police department personnel so that each will have the skills, knowledge and abilities to effectively do their jobs without hesitation," Belue said. "This makes your employees competent in doing their job."
The council looked at the reports and asked questions about the different types of training sessions attended by officers.
"We train and educate our officers maybe two weeks of each year," Belue said. "That is nothing compared to human lives it might save."
Belue told council members that the department stayed within their training budget.
"We take advantage of as much free training as possible," Belue said.
Mayor Jeff Reid said the police department spent just under the $6,000 amount that was allotted to them for training in last year's budget.
"We've spent .04 percent of our officer training," Reid said. "You either want a bunch of Barney Fifes running around or you want a well trained police force. Which is it?"
The police training matter is not a new topic for the Red Bay Council.
In July, the council discussed officer training and voted to allow Belue to send officers to training as long as it stayed within the budget and encouraged him to take advantage of as much free training as possible.
In addition to Belue's presentation to the council, dispatcher Stephen Moore addressed the council about pay issues among city employees, including police department employees.
"Last month, the council voted to give nine employees raises while denying the rest of us even so much as a cent," Moore said.
Moore singled out City Councilman Bobby Nelson, who continually says that he is for the working man, and asked him why they were denied a raise.
"Scottie Belue and Eddie Chandler are working men, and the city hall ladies are working harder than ever," Moore said. "Over 20 full-time employees were ignored despite their hard work."
Nelson said those nine employees were given raises because they work out in the weather, and it was only fair that each of them made the same amount per hour.
"If the people don't understand why I did that, I am sorry," Nelson said.
He went on to say that police department employees would be looked at if more raises were issued.
"If any city employee gets a raise this year, we are not going to leave the police department out."
Moore responded by reminding the council of their action last fall that rescinded the department's step-pay plan, even though it had just been passed two years earlier.
Council members eventually said they wanted to see job descriptions for all city employees.
Nelson and council members Pat Hammock and Ann Wilkins declined to comment on their action following the meeting.
The next regular meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 18, 2008 at 7 p.m.