Support, not cash for cops

Published 2:00 am Saturday, June 8, 2013

Many of East Brewton residents want to keep the city’s police department working, but according to an informal survey, many also aren’t willing to put up cash to help pay for it.
Residents have been paying a $3 per month fee included on water/sewer bills that is earmarked for fire department expenses. In a question posed on The Brewton Standard’s Facebook page, residents were asked if they would be willing to pay an additional $2 per month fee — about $24 a year — to be earmarked for police department expenses.
The city has not said it is considering a fee, but it is considering seeking a contract with the City of Brewton to take over its law enforcement services. Council members in favor of such a move have said it would save East Brewton money.
Although, most — if not all — who responded said they would not want to pay additional money to the city for services, several respondents say they want to keep police services in East Brewton.
“There should not be an added charge for police protection, such as it is,” East Brewton resident Cathy McCurdy said. “I am not in favor of Brewton taking our police department either. We have some smart men on the council, and they should be able to put their heads together and find better ways to meet the budget.”
McCurdy’s opinion was applauded and agreed to by other residents in the community as well.
“I want to keep our (police department) and I agree with Cathy about our councilmen finding a solution,” Misti Godwin said. “I would question if retirees drawing a pension can also draw wages if they come back to work?”
But some residents support the idea of police services for the city being contracted with the Brewton Police Department
“I think East Brewton should merge with Brewton like I heard about months back,” Brandon Jones said. “Make East Brewton a precinct of Brewton. It’d be a lot better service and protection for sure.”
East Brewton Police Chief Kenny Brazile said adding more officers to the department to provide better coverage for the city would take money — something his department doesn’t have.
“It’s hard to say it, but if we want to add any more protection and patrol for the department, we are going to have to have more money,” Brazile said. “If citizens would be willing to pay a little bit each month, we could see some changes in the department.”
Even some Brewton residents said additional money would be needed to keep East Brewton’s current police department operating.
“Simple fact in this situation: If (East Brewton) wants to improve its police protection on their own, it will cost them,” Spike Maxwell said. “If they want to save money and seek to improve protection another way, they can contract with the Brewton (police department). East Brewton residents, get after your mayor and council and make it happen.”
The topic of a change in police services in East Brewton is expected to be discussed at the East Brewton City Council meeting set for Monday at 5:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.

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