Public Safety Committee: Latest on increased police action in the city, including downtown; fire and police personnel updates; plus a recommendation to increase first responder wages.

Public Safety Committee: Latest on increased police action in the city, including downtown; fire and police personnel updates; plus a recommendation to increase first responder wages.

The city of Rome’s Public Safety Committee is meeting at 2 p.m.Tuesday in the Sam King Room and is available via Zoom. Chair is Commissioner Bonny Askew. We have notes below:
North Rome community leader Charles Love, a guest, opens the meeting with questions about police conduct — and a request to get answers in writing. His concerns are more about how such issues are handled.  He commends first responders and law enforcement for what they’ve done especially in recent months.
Fire Marshal Mary Catherine Chewning reported 495 fire call outs in June, including 253 in the city and 242 in the county. The agency also reported one case of COVID-19 involving family contact.
Rome Police: Personnel remains an issue with 14 vacancies to do, Police Chief Denise Downer-McKinney says. Also, four employees have dealt with COVID-19 concerns, all from family contact.

Police Maj. Rodney Bailey talked about successful crime suppression efforts in South Rome, East Rome, West Rome and North Rome. He updated commissioners on expanded efforts to watch crime in downtown Rome, including arrests from speeding to other charges from May 21 through July 10. Those numbers:

  • 41 speeding citations
  • 23 seat belt violations
  • 5 distracted driver
  • 4 license violations
  • 4 equipment violations
  • 2 loud music citations
  • 2 muffler ordinance violations
  • 2 suspended license violations

108 citations

  • 54 courtesy warnings
  • 67 arrests

Commissioner Craig McDaniel asked how many downtown businesses were open past midnight; City Clerk Joe Smith named a handful. McDaniel asked about possibly closing businesses at midnight and “how much damage would that cause?”

Kristy Childre, Human Resources Director, briefed the committee on turnover among first-responders. City Manager Sammy Rich talked about adjusting salaries because of turnover. “We’ve really got to do something to be more competitive on public safety,” Rich said. One package for increasing pay for police and fire would come to $407,000, he says.

The committee hears from commissioners Mark Cochran and Jamie Doss about recommended increases, including Doss’ questions about raises for all city employees. Rich and others say the priority is first responders, adding that pay rates had not been addressed since 2014.

The committee votes to send the bulk increase recommendation to the full City Commission for consideration.

 

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