SUMMERDALE - Less than two weeks after voting to withdraw police protection outside the town’s corporate limits at a special meeting, council discussed the rationale of hiring an additional full-time officer at the regular meeting Monday while …
SUMMERDALE - Less than two weeks after voting to withdraw police protection outside the town’s corporate limits at a special meeting, council discussed the rationale of hiring an additional full-time officer at the regular meeting Monday while enacting a July 15 deadline that will halt patrols in the police jurisdiction.
The jurisdiction, a one and one-half mile area outside Summerdale’s corporate limits, will no longer be patrolled by the Summerdale PD as of a 4-0 vote at the special meeting held June 28.
At that meeting, Police Chief Dwain Riebeling stated that his department – currently staffed with six patrol officers – would be required to patrol a larger jurisdiction since Foley City Council voted in March to rescind police protection outside its city limits on July 15.
Summerdale PD, he said, would be responsible for picking up the northern boundary of Foley’s jurisdiction, mainly Highway 59, since the two police department’s shared an adjoining coverage area.
He noted that the Summerdale PD is presently patrolling 36 square miles – the size of the town’s corporate limits (10 square miles) and the police jurisdiction – and that additional land annexations will increase the town’s corporate limits, placing further strains on a department considering the advent of Foley’s decision.
But, at the regular meeting, Councilmember Norma Giles said hiring an additional full-time officer “should wait for a different budget year” now that the Summerdale PD will only patrol the town limits.
She said the department should seek “other solutions” such as hiring a part-time officer rather than full-time or revising the officer work schedule.
The department would have seven patrol officers if Riebeling’s hiring request is fulfilled: five full-time, two part-time, one detective and the chief.
“I haven’t been shown schedules or anything,” Giles noted, adding that “we need to take a long look at the ways we spend money.”
She also cited the 2004 Parca report that Riebeling mentioned at the special meeting stating that a police department should staff on a scale of 3.6 officers for every 1,000 residents.
About 1,500 residents live within Summerdale’s corporate limits, said Riebeling in a phone interview on Tuesday, citing combined figures from the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce and the Baldwin County Planning and Zoning Department.
He said, however, that anticipated residential development, including over 271 single-family homes (about 3 people per average household), will significantly contribute to the town’s population.
Councilmember Tommy Reaves said that an officer should be hired “for safety…but I would like to see the overtime come down (and) I would like to see a schedule.”
Council voted 4-1 for hiring a full-time officer with Giles dissenting.