DORA — The Dora City Council repealed a safe streets ordinance from 2009 at its meeting on Thursday."The ordinance was copied after the Safe Streets Act that the Alabama Legislature passed," …
DORA — The Dora City Council repealed a safe streets ordinance from 2009 at its meeting on Thursday.
"The ordinance was copied after the Safe Streets Act that the Alabama Legislature passed," explained Mayor Randy Stephens. "Basically that law said that anybody who was stopped by a police officer and did not have a driver's license on them for any reason ... were given a citation and [the car they were driving] was towed and impounded."
Police Chief Jared Hall did clarify that the officers attempt to make sure that the driver's license was suspended or revoked before towing the vehicle, rather than towing the car simply because the driver doesn't have their license with them at the time.
"If an officer makes a discretionary act and decide to let someone go for whatever reason, ... they don't tow the car and the driver goes down the road and hits and kills someone, then we're liable" under the Safe Streets ordinance, Hall said. "Under this ordinance, it tells you you have to tow everything. So when an [officer] makes a discretionary act and decides not to tow someone and something happens, the city would be liable."
The law was eventually repealed by the Legislature; however, cities and towns continued having ordinances on their books that copied the state law.
The city's attorney advised Stephens that the ordinance needed to be repealed.
"When this law was passed by the state, the intentions were good," Stephens added. "But it ended up putting law officers in cities and municipalities in some additional liability that they really shouldn't have to face. ... It did not work out the way that it was intended."
Dora police officers will still adhere to the state code which says that any driver with a suspended license for DUI-related offenses or a revoked license will have their vehicle towed by the city.
After a discussion, the council voted unanimously to repeal the ordinance.
In other business, council members at Thursday's meeting:
• Scheduled a work session for Monday, April 16, at 7 p.m. to discuss officer recruitment and retention for the city's police department.
• Briefly discussed building a veterans memorial at the Horse Creek Golf Course.
Officials proposed tying the veterans memorial project into the Alabama Bicentennial Celebration in order to qualify for a grant that would help the city complete the project.
• Voted to donate surplus fire department equipment to the Empire Volunteer Fire Department.
• Approved spending approximately $3,400 for new flooring for part of city hall.
• Approved paying $500 from the city and $500 from the Horse Creek Golf Course to purchase an advertisement in the Walker County Sports Hall of Fame program.