East Brewton to draft police contract

Published 2:00am Saturday, June 22, 2013

With a proposal headed to the Brewton Police Department and the City of Brewton to handle East Brewton’s police services, other nearby cities are already living without their own city officers.
In Jay and Century, Fla., the policing responsibilities no longer fall to local police departments — which were dissolved years ago in both communities — but now fall to the respective county law enforcement agencies.
For at least 25 years, the town of Jay has had their police services handled by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Department — an arrangement that seems to be working well.
Linda Carden, town clerk for Jay, said the city has “done well” with the arrangement for decades.
“It’s really been wonderful for us,” Carden said. “For a long time, we only had one policeman. Another one was hired, but that didn’t last long. It just wasn’t a good situation.”
With about 550 residents in the municipality, Carden said crime isn’t a problem, so police services in that respect are not a big requirement.
“Every once in a while we may have some petty crime, but the county handles it right away,” Carden said. “We may go several months before we have anything like that again. We don’t have a big crime rate here.”
In Century, where the population is just over 1,700, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department handles all calls for law enforcement within the city. Council Gary Riley said the arrangement there has worked well for the city.
“We have been quite successful with this arrangement,” Riley said. “They (sheriff’s department) are doing a good job at what they do.”
Riley said the response of the deputies for the area has been good in the past and no major problems have been seen.
“The response from the sheriff’s office has been fairly good considering everything,” Riley said. “They have a substation right here in Century and the calls to 911 get taken care of quickly.
East Brewton’s population hovers just above 2,500, with a larger business district seen than in Jay or Century.
In the most recent report of police activity by East Brewton police officers, the department answered several calls from residents that included theft, burglary, assault, domestic disturbances, accidents and traffic stops.
Carden said county officers handle all calls from the citizens of Jay in a timely manner. Riley said officers are frequently seen patrolling through the Century area.
Although East Brewton officials voted last week to submit a contract to Brewton’s police department, city leaders will have to agree on the terms before such a contract can be approved.

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