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franklin county times

RB police, council dispute training

By Staff
Melissa Cason
RED BAY-Sgt. Scottie Belue resigned as training officer for the Red Bay Police Department Monday night during a city council meeting where police training once again monopolized the agenda.
Belue addressed the council about training already scheduled for officers to attend. The council voted during the June 2 meeting that all police training be approved by the council.
The move nullified the council's decision made July 16, 2007, which allowed Belue to obtain free training for the department since timing was a key element in getting good, free training.
The upcoming training scheduled is free training already paid for by grant money obtained from the Department of Homeland Security, officials said.
"This training has been on the schedule for a while, and it is free to the department," Belue told the council.
Councilman Ricky Holland made a motion to approve the already scheduled and paid-for training, but no one made a second on the motion until Belue spoke again.
He told the council that since the money has been received for the training and flights for one of the instructors had already been booked and paid for, he did not want to call the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to tell them the city could not use the free training.
"I feel like it [canceling this training] is going to shut us down for grants in the future," Belue said.
The council voted to allow the police department to conduct the training session, but other training must be brought before the council.
"I'm not against training, but whenever the taxpayers money is being spent, it should be brought before the board," Councilman David Martin said.
After the training was finally approved, Belue told the council that he would no longer be held responsible for any matter that should arise from officers not receiving proper training.
"I cannot do my job to the best of its ability without the support of not just my supervisors and staff, but the elected and appointed officials that should stand strong behind their city government and the laws this land was founded on," Belue said before leaving the meeting.
Police Chief Pat Creel said Belue's decision to resign as training officer for the department is devastating. Creel said Belue would continue to serve the city as a sergeant supervisor in the department.
Belue said he has come to the point where he had rather respond to a shots-fired call rather than attend a council meeting where they are forced to beg for training that will be used to better the city.
"It's humiliating and sad to get up in front of the council and beg for training like a kid begging for candy when it's to better our city," Belue said.
The only other business that was discussed at the meeting was the approval of the resolution for the electronic voting machines to be used in the upcoming city election on Aug. 26.