TO BE PROVIDED BY CITY
Police and Courts committee liaison Boone said he had talked to the mayor and Police Chief Petties about returning to providing no-cost police escorts for funeral homes in the city -- at the chief's discretion. Boone asked that the city clerk have the new ordinance ready by the next council meeting.
Boone; "We just need to get something started. Since we've got our new chief ... need to get this implemented."
Council President Burrell asked Chief Petties if he was "ok with that?"
Petties said he talked with Boone about it that afternoon and he was "fine with it."
Petties said he was about to hire 2 new officers for the new crime suppression team that would give him the additional manpower necessary (6 patrol officers per shift).
Petties: "The chief before (Press) was concerned about leapfrogging the lights ... this will give us the manpower we need ... for covering funerals ... most of the time we'll have enough people on the streets to cover them ... when they call ... 90% of the time we'll be able to get them safely to where they are going."
Boone said they were leaving it to the chief's discretion -- if enough manpower is available. Petties called it very rare in his 21 years that any have been turned down due to lack of manpower.
Burrell said he thought providing escorts was a way for citizens to see their police in a positive light --as a last rite; and he knew there were added costs involved, but not as much as perceived by some.
Boone said as a lifetime resident himself "its the last service the city would do for me ... greatly appreciated."
Former Chief Press ended the practice in 2009 because of safety and manpower concerns (click). Mobile and Baldwin County constables have been hired by the funeral home to provided the escorts for the past 3 years.