Turkey Creek proposes ordinance to hire police chief
In the first meeting of the new administration in Turkey Creek, Mayor Phillip Cavins and the council proposed an ordinance to hire an appointed police chief. On Tuesday, the council held a special meeting and decided to vote on the proposed ordinance at their regular meeting next Tuesday, January 15, at 6:30 p.m. The council is hoping to start the process to hire a police chief later in the regular meeting.
“If the ordinance is passed at the next meeting, I should be ready to make a recommendation,” Cavins said after the meeting. “We have some applications and a few are qualified to be hired. One of the items we have to look at is what our budget will allow us to pay the new chief. Another is where the person lives because the chief will have to live close enough to Turkey Creek so the chief could respond to an emergency in a timely fashion.”
The proposed ordinance says the mayor will make a recommendation for a chief of police along with a salary to the council. The new chief will be on probation for two months and can be terminated if the chief has not represented and run the department to the satisfaction of the council. The appointed chief must have at least four years of law enforcement experience, must be Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) certified and must maintain the certification. Failure to do so may result in termination.
The chief, within, the first year will be required to successfully complete the New Chief Management Course, which is a 32-hour course in law enforcement. The chief must have a high school diploma or a valid certification of equivalency issued by a state department of education. The person appointed must pass a drug test, must take and pass a physical, must be able to carry a firearm, 25 years or older, cannot be a convicted felon, a born citizen of the U.S., have a valid drivers license, and must take and pass a psychological evaluation.
“The Chief of Police is the title given to the top official in the chain of command in the police department,” the proposed ordinance says. “The primary responsibility of which is serving as administrative head of the department. The duties of the chief are many. Municipal ordinances and state law dictate the scope of authority a Chief of Police posses.”
According to the new ordinance, the chief works with a high degree of independence in the performance of duties reporting to the mayor, who reviews and oversees the work. The chief is to recommend to the mayor applicants the chief is interested in hiring as a police officer.
“The mayor may seek the opinion of the council but the decision to hire or fire police officers is up to the mayor according to the Lawrason Act,” the ordinance reads.
The chief must promote a positive image for the department, be active in the community, coordinate the work of the department with related federal, state and local agencies and serves as department representative at any required meetings. The chief will act as the department’s representative to the news media, releasing information and answering questions concerning the operations of the department.
During natural disasters the chief assumes command under the mayor’s supervision of the incident in their jurisdiction to assure the vital accentual needs are met to overcome the incident. The chief will provide to the council and mayor a report of the calls and number of citations written for each month. The chief will oversee patrolling, investigations, and any other duties performed by officers. The chief is in charge of weekly scheduling of the officers’ hours and to keep the department financially stable.
The chief must maintain taser certified along with all other certifications applicable to the chief’s position. The chief must make sure all paper work, tickets, and evidence are sent to the needed parties in a timely manner.
“I feel the council will vote on the ordinance next week, “ Turkey Creek Councilman Joey Ducote said after the meeting. “It will start the process in hiring a new police chief.”
In other business, after an executive session, the council hired Brittany Hebert as a part-time police officer at $12 an hour.
Earlier in the meeting, Turkey Creek resident Dillard Fontenot thanked the mayor and council for cleaning out the ditches and culverts along Cemetery Road.