CORDOVA – Assistant Police Chief Tony Reid will take over the department on an interim basis when Chief Nick Smith’s resignation becomes official on Sunday, Mayor Drew Gilbert announced Tuesday …
CORDOVA – Assistant Police Chief Tony Reid will take over the department on an interim basis when Chief Nick Smith’s resignation becomes official on Sunday, Mayor Drew Gilbert announced Tuesday night.
Smith will be sworn in as Walker County's sheriff on Monday. Reid, who has been with the department since 2013, was promoted to assistant chief in October 2017. He has been in charge of the department for the last year while Smith has been campaigning for the sheriff's position.
Gilbert told council members that he will not be seeking a third term as mayor and as a result has encouraged Reid to take some time to pursue other job opportunities while serving as interim chief.
“He’s going to keep doing what he’s been doing on an interim basis and take a few months to look around. If he does have another opportunity that presents itself, I am going to encourage him to take it because, quite frankly, we don’t know who will be the next mayor of the city and they will have 100 percent authority to appoint a police chief. I want him to make the best decision for himself,” Gilbert said.
Reid, who did not address the council directly about the decision, said after the meeting that he was concerned about the possibility of being replaced as chief in a new administration and had agreed to assume the chief’s role on an interim rather than a permanent basis.
“I wouldn’t feel right taking the job and then leaving. I talked to Drew and we decided on this until I know what options are out there,” Reid said.
In his final appearance before the council on Tuesday, Smith thanked council members for their support.
“The faces have changed but the support from the council for the police department has remained the same. Every achievement and every accomplishment, we did together,” Smith said.
Council members Ed Earp and Larry Sides both thanked Smith for his service to the city.
“The work that you’ve done here won’t stop. It will continue through others, and you’ll have a hand in what goes on in this town and surrounding towns as well, which will benefit everybody,” Earp said.
In other action, the council:
• Heard from Gilbert that engineer Calvin Cassady has drafted a report for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) detailing the problems that led to a series of improper wastewater overflows since 2016 and identifying potential solutions.
The city can make some corrections immediately but will have to apply for grants to cover the cost of others.
“The biggest expense we’ll probably handle locally is the chlorinator at the sewer treatment plant. It has been on the fritz. That may be $20,000 to $30,000. I think we can rob Peter to pay Paul within our budget to do that. Anything above that, we will be letting them know that we’ll have to pursue grants because it’s not going to be feasible,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert reiterated that the city will eventually enter into a formal agreement such as a consent decree with ADEM.
The city operated under a consent decree with ADEM from 2012 to 2015 after a series of violations dating back to 2004.
In 2012, the city was approved for $3.2 million in grants and loans from USDA Rural Development to make sewer system upgrades, which included the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant.
• Discussed the possibility of locating some of the fire department’s extra equipment and supplies from an old storage building near the current station to unused space at the old National Guard Armory. Fire Chief Dean Harbison also suggested that the building could be torn down if funds were not available to fix it and a Connex shipping container currently located at the VFW could be relocated to the station.
• Learned that the fire department handled a total of 629 calls in 2018, which included 36 structure fires and 423 medical calls.
• Learned that the police department had 210 arrests, 551 traffic cases and 114 non-traffic cases in 2018.
• Learned that all of the police department’s patrol units recently became inoperable within a week’s time as a result of rust that tainted fuel stored in the city’s tanks. Two have been repaired, and the other three are in the process of being repaired, according to Reid. The council voted Tuesday to temporarily postpone payment to Relaydyne, the distributor of the fuel, while city leaders attempt to resolve the issue. Gilbert said he is exploring the idea of using Fleet fuel cards instead of purchasing the fuel and storing it locally.
Officer saves man's life with Narcan
Officer Krimson Culverson recently saved the life of a Cordova man with an overdose reversal kit obtained by the department two years ago.
On Dec. 9, Culverson responded to a call on Highland Street of a possible overdose.
Culverson administered two doses of Narcan, a nasal form of the overdose reversal drug naloxone. The man was alert and talking by the time that paramedics arrived.
Desperation Church provided the funding in February 2017 for the Cordova Police Department to purchase several kits containing Narcan. Each kit cost $139.
Reid said during Tuesday night's council meeting that the department executed two drug-related search warrants in December, one of which resulted from two overdose calls within a period of 14 hours.