The council officially approved a request from Officer Blake Powell to leave the department so he could take a job with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, without having to repay the cost of his training. The city sponsored Powell through the Alabama Police Training Academy, where he finished in July.
Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harvey said he thought the city should try to recoup the costs incurred during Powell’s training, which he said equalled approximately $4,000.
The council ultimately decided to release Powell and his new job or any prospective employers from any liability for that cost. “I don’t think this is a good idea for us,” Harvey said. “I will never vote to send another person to the academy under these circumstances again. ... It’s ridiculous, even if we only spent $4,000 doing it, we still spent $4,000 doing it.”
With Powell gone, each of the other full-time officers will transition to working four 12-hour shifts each week, and the city’s part-time officer will continue on her current schedule.
The council also heard from Mayor Dennis Welch that city hall will be closed Monday in observance of Veterans Day. City hall will also be closed the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas. And, starting next Friday, city hall will begin being closed every Friday to save on utility costs.
The council also agreed to pay $7,373 for the last installment of its liability insurance.