Summerdale council seeking feedback on proposed reduction of police jurisdiction

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 10/18/21

SUMMERDALE - The Summerdale council is seeking citizen feedback on a recent proposal to reduce the town’s police jurisdiction to one half mile outside of the town’s corporate limits. The town’s …

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Summerdale council seeking feedback on proposed reduction of police jurisdiction

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SUMMERDALE - The Summerdale council is seeking citizen feedback on a recent proposal to reduce the town’s police jurisdiction to one half mile outside of the town’s corporate limits. The town’s police jurisdiction is currently a mile and a half outside of town limits. The town’s planning jurisdiction is one half mile. No vote will happen on the subject of the police jurisdiction until March 2022. “This is just an announcement that council and all of our staff are looking at reducing our police jurisdiction,” said Mayor David Wilson. “We’re looking at in the month of March making a decision whether or not to reduce us back to one half mile outside of our corporate limits. This is not an announcement saying it will definitely be reduced, this is an announcement to try to get feedback from the public on what they think the town of Summerdale should do.” The discussion of reducing the police jurisdiction began due to Senate Bill 107, authored by Senator Chris Elliott (R-Daphne) and recently approved. According to SB 107, municipalities can retract jurisdictions in increments of half a mile all the way to city limits. Under current state law, there is no mechanism to increase jurisdiction after a reduction takes place. Once a municipality makes a change, no further changes can be made for the following 24 months. “We’re looking at this from the standpoint of what is feasible for the town of Summerdale,” Wilson said. “Summerdale police right now are patrolling 53 square miles of territory, and this would greatly reduce the area that they have to patrol.” Wilson said the fire department jurisdiction was not governed the same way as the police jurisdiction, and would not be affected if the vote to reduce the policing jurisdiction were passed. During the Oct. 11 council meeting, it was approved to enter into a contract with Baldwin County concerning the town’s planning jurisdiction. “This has to do with our ETJ for our planning, it has nothing to do with police or building permits,” Wilson said. “This is a contract that we negotiated with the county of the area where we will do planning and zoning regulations, and this is actually in the same area that we’ve been working with for quite some time.” The agreement must be approved by both the town of Summerdale and the Baldwin County Commission. Wilson invited citizens to speak with any of the councilmembers, view maps of the proposed jurisdictions and to discuss their opinions with the council prior to March 2022. “We’ll be happy to go over it with you so that we can formulate a decision in our minds, what’s best for the people of Summerdale and the people of our surrounding areas, because there’s no doubt Summerdale will grow, and we will grow into these areas,” said Wilson.
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