WILLIAMSON – At Thursday’s Williamson City Council meeting, council denied a request for Williamson Police officers to be allowed to take police cruisers home.
Williamson Police Chief, Barry Blair made the request on behalf of the police department. Blair requested that if the council would not agree to allow all officers to take cruisers home, to consider allowing the officers that reside within city limits to take cruisers home.
Blair approached the council stating, “I would like to ask the council to consider a request that the council give our cruisers back to us or at least give the officers that live in the city of Williamson their vehicle back … If something happened, they would be ready to respond.” Currently, only two officers reside within Williamson City limits.
Hamrick responded stating, “I don’t think we should make any significant changes until after the first quarter has passed so that we can look and see how our budget is doing …”
Councilman York Smith made a motion to approve allowing the two officers that reside in Williamson to take their cruisers home stating, “I make the motion. Look at how much is going on today about the policeman. People don’t respect them anymore and it’s sad. It is going to get worse … Our firemen and policemen are important to us.”
Williamson Mayor Robert Carlton reminded Blair that the city must follow state overtime laws. Blair explained that allowing the officers to take the cruisers home would not increase overtime because the officers would not be on call. According to Blair, allowing the officers that reside within the city to take cruisers home would increase response time in an emergency situation.
“My point is not for them to be on call. My point is to allow those officers to take their vehicles home,” Blair stated.
“They live in the city of Williamson. If it was an emergency and they were needed as backup, it would allow them to respond and not have to drive to the station and find a car. They could leave immediately from their home to go to the call. I’m not asking for them to be on call. If we have a severe emergency we could call them and maybe get a hold of them,” Blair stated.
Following discussion, a second was not made to the motion and the request for officers to take cruisers home was denied.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)