Local News Articles

Man Charged In Assault of Estranged Wife and Another Person

September 20, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A woman visiting friends was assaulted by her estranged husband, who showed up at the residence last Tuesday. The man also attacked the owner of the home, who had come to the woman's aid.

James Edward Pack II of Agee Road, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault, domestic assault, especially aggravated burglary, simple assault, and unlawful possession of a weapon. His bond totals $27,500.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. of the Smithville Police Department says the man went to 167 Village Place where his estranged wife was visiting friends. He says the man tried to burst through the front door, but the people inside the house kept him from entering. The woman tried to flee through the garage, but her husband went around the house and through an open door to the garage where he caught up with the woman and began assaulting her.

The owner of the residence, who was outside, witnessed the attack and went to the woman's assistance, but he suffered a serious cut to his arm after Pack allegedly attacked him with a razored device.

Though seriously wounded, the man was able to restrain Pack until police officers arrived.

Pack was taken into custody.

Station Camp Defeats Tigers 51 to 27

September 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Station Camp Bison Spoiled Homecoming for the sixth-ranked DeKalb County High School Tiger football team, Friday night. The Tigers scored the first 13 points of the game, but Station Camp answered with 30 unanswered points and rolled to a 51-27 win over the Black and Gold.

DeKalb County struck first on a six yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Travon Johnson. John Curtis added the extra point to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. DC came back on the very next drive and scored on a 26-yard pass from Poteete to Abram Edwards. The extra point attempt failed, but the Tigers had a 13-0 advantage with 3:21 left in the first quarter.

Station Camp took over from there, however, as Corey Alexander took the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a score. Christian Reed missed the extra point, but the Bison was on the board with 3:04 left in the opening quarter. Hunter Tope scored on the next Bison possession on a 16-yard touchdown run. Jacob Hamblen added another touchdown on a six-yard run, with 8:09 left in the second quarter, which gave Station Camp a 20-13 lead. Reed booted a 26-yard field goal with 2:14 left in the half, which gave the Bison a 23-13 lead at the half.

Station Camp struck first in the second half, as Tope scored on a 61-yard run with 3:59 left in the third quarter, which gave the Bison a 30-13 lead after Reed's PAT kick. The Tiger offense answered on the next possession, as Poteete found Edwards on a 38-yard scoring pass, which shaved the Bison lead to 30-20, with 3:40 to go in the third. The Bison struck again on the following possession, as Top found the end zone again on a two-yard run, but DeKalb fought back on the ensuing drive, with Poteete and Edwards hooking up on a 63-yard pass play. Station Camp held a 37-27 lead that point, with 9:20 left in the fourth quarter.

The Bison took over from there, as Tope scored his fourth touchdown on a 20-yard run with 2:17 to go in regulation. Brandon Porch finished off the rout, as he picked off a Poteete pass, with 1:36 to go on the clock, and returned it 29 yards for another Bison touchdown. That gave Station Camp the final 51-27 advantage.

DeKalb County loses for the first time this season, and falls to 3-1 overall, while Station Camp improves to 3-2. The Tigers will travel to Woodbury to take on Cannon County, next Friday night, at 7:00 p.m.

Intoxicated Woman Found with Xanax and Valium

September 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 41 year old Liberty area woman was arrested by Smithville Police on drug charges Friday after she allegedly showed up intoxicated at a local business.

Patsy Darlene Fults of Pea Ridge Road, Liberty is charged with public intoxication and unlawful possession of a schedule IV controlled substance for resale.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. says Officer Travis Bryant was called to the business and encountered Fults, who had slurred speech and was unsteady on her feet. Upon a search incident to arrest, Officer Bryant found a pill bottle containing 32 and a half pills believed to be Xanax and 12 pills thought to be valium.

Fults, who had no prescription, told Officer Bryant that a friend had given her the pills.

School Spirit on Display during DCHS Homecoming Parade

September 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Junior Class Float Wins First Place
Shiroki North America- First Place Business Decoration
DCHS Homecoming Court

School spirit was on display Friday afternoon as students from DeKalb County High School celebrated the last day of Homecoming Week with a parade from the school to downtown.

The Tiger football team's homecoming opponent Friday night was the Station Camp Bison and each float in the parade had a Tiger versus Bison theme.

The parade featured the Homecoming Queen and her court, the DCHS Fighting Tiger Band, the Tiger Football Team, DCHS Cheerleaders, among others including many students who decorated their automobiles and drove them in the parade.

The Junior Class took first place for their float entry called "Tigers Barbeque the Bison" featuring a large smoking barbeque pit with a huge bottle of mustard, ketchup, and a picnic table.

Second Place went to the Senior Class for their float called " Tigers Bulldoze the Bison" featuring a big yellow bulldozer on a construction site.

The Freshman Class received third place for their float called "Tigers Bury the Bison" depicting a Bison bone field and a casket with tombstones representing the three teams the Tigers have already beaten this season.

The Sophomore Class float called " Go Tigers Sizzle Bison" won fourth place featuring a fire pit with a rotating Bison, large marshmellows, football field, and a goal post.

The FCCLA Club took fifth place for their float called "Tigers Tackle Bison's Camp.

Ashley Owen won first place in the best decorated automobile category. Brittany Cleveland took second place, and Nikita Young received third place.

Winners of the best decorated classroom doors at DCHS were: First place- Daniel Seber (Tiger Chef); Second Place- Lori Page (Barbeque the Bison); and Third Place- Larry Steffee (Bison Wings- All You Can Eat Buffet)

Winners of the best decorated business category were: First place- Shiroki North America; Second Place- Home Health Concepts; and Third Place- the law office of Sue Puckett Jernigan.

Federal Court Lawsuit Against City and Former Police Chief Dismissed

September 18, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Federal Court lawsuit, filed by Roy Ray, against former Smithville Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano and the City of Smithville has been dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Echols has granted Stufano and the City's motion for summary judgment to which Ray, who was represented by Adam Parrish of Lebanon, failed to file responses.

According to court documents, "a party may obtain summary judgment if the evidence establishes there is not a genuine issue of material fact for trial and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. If the non-moving party does not so respond, summary judgment will be entered if appropriate."

Ray filed the lawsuit last year claiming he suffered injuries and that his civil and constitutional rights were violated during a misdemeanor traffic stop in February, 2007.

Ray had originally sought a jury trial and asked for compensatory and punitive damages along with his attorney's fees.

According to the memorandum, Ray filed this action claiming that Stufano used excessive force against him during an arrest on February 23rd, 2007 and the city failed to train and discipline Stufano and other police officers adequately in the prevention of excessive use of force. Ray also brought claims under state law for battery, negligence, and malicious prosecution."

Concerning his claims of excessive force, the court stated that "Ray bore the burden to prove that Stufano's use of force against him was unreasonable under the circumstances."

According to the court's finding, "Stufano pulled Ray over for tailgating his police car. While the crime Ray allegedly committed is not a particularly serious one, Ray's conduct upon being pulled over escalated an ordinary traffic stop into a more volatile situation. After stopping his truck, Ray got out and started walking towards Stufano's police car. Stufano observed a bulge in Ray's pants pocket, and Stufano believed the bulge was a gun. It turned out that Ray was, in fact, carrying a pistol in his pants pocket without a concealed weapons permit. Stufano believed Ray to be a threat to his safety and the safety of others in the vicinity, so he called for backup."

"According to Ray, when he got as far as the tailgate of his truck, he realized Stufano was angry and Stufano violently ordered him to go back to his truck and get in it. Stufano issued this order possibly twice before Ray retreated as far as the tailgate of his truck, where he leaned up against the tailgate looking at Stufano. Ray did not obey Stufano's direct order to return to his vehicle, but rather stood at the tailgate in defiance of Stufano's lawful authority. Stufano's order to Ray to return to the cab of the truck was reasonable considering Stufano had observed a bulge in Ray's pants that he thought to be a firearm. Concerned that his own safety and that of others was in danger, Stufano was forced to make a split-second decision about a proper course of action in light of Ray's resistance to a direct order and the lack of police backup to insure security at the scene."

"Stufano ran up to Ray, told him to put his hands on the tailgate of the truck, and swung Ray around so that Ray grabbed the tailgate. Stufano kicked Ray's feet apart, while Ray continued to talk to Stufano, asking what he had done. Ray says he was placed in an uncomfortable physical position and he felt his pacemaker wires pulling. Stufano then put Ray's left hand behind his back and pulled up on it in an effort to control Ray while he was waiting for police backup to arrive with handcuffs. When Ray continued to struggle, Stufano pulled Ray's arm higher. Stufano patted Ray down for weapons, which included a search of Ray's groin area, which Ray says caused him pain. Two officers arrived on the scene within two minutes of Stufano's call for assistance and Ray was handcuffed and taken into custody."

Ray was never charged with any crimes as a result of this traffic stop.

According to the court's findings, " Ray has not created a genuine issue of material fact for trial on his excessive force claim. Accepting that Ray experienced some pain and injury, not every push or shove at the scene of an arrest amounts to a constitutional violation and even an allegedly rough, intrusive, and hostile pat down search of the groin area does not amount to a constitutional violation if it was objectively reasonable for the officer to examine that part of the body for a concealed weapon in connection with a frisk."

"Having failed to respond to Stufano's summary judgment motion, Ray has not presented any evidence to contradict the defense expert's opinion that Stufano acted in an objectively reasonable manner in accordance with standard police procedure in light of the facts and circumstances facing him at the time. Thus, Stufano is entitled to summary judgment on the excessive force claim."

"The City is also entitled to summary judgment. Ray cannot hold the city liable on theories of failure to train, observing that he must first establish that the officer committed a constitutional violation before the municipality may be held liable for failure to train. There is no evidence in this record that the city failed to train Stufano."

"Having determined that Stufano and the City are entitled to summary judgment on Ray's federal claims, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Ray's state-law claims for battery, negligence, and malicious prosecution. Those claims will be dismissed without prejudice."

"For all the reasons stated, Ray failed to respond to the motions for summary judgment and both defendants have established that they are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, Ray's claims will be dismissed with prejudice and his state-law claims will be dismissed without prejudice in light of the court's decision not to exercise supplemental jurisdiction."

The city was represented by the attorney firm for the Tennessee Municipal League, L. Dean Moore, Daniel M. Rader III, Michael E. Clift, Walter E. Fitzpatrick III, Richard Lane Moore, and Daniel H. Rader IV.

Star Manufacturing Announces Plans to Create 200 New Jobs Here

September 17, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Star Manufacturing Executives, County Mayor, & County Commissioners

Star Manufacturing, a division of the Middleby Corporation, is expanding it's Smithville operation with plans to create another 200 jobs.

A new building for the expansion will be constructed on a 50 plus acre site on Coconut Ridge Road, just a short distance from the present location on Hobson Street.

Frank Ricchio, President of Star Manufacturing, made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Smithville Municipal Airport surrounded by other representatives of the company along with County Mayor Mike Foster and several members of the county commission.

In his announcement, Ricchio says "Star is purchasing 58 acres just up the street from our current plant here and we're looking forward over the next couple of years to start expanding manufacturing. We hope to add another 100 to 200 thousand square feet over the next several years. I think we have about 235 employees here in Smithville and there's a potential over the next 12 to 24 months for (adding) a couple of hundred jobs or maybe a little more than that."

"We manufacture commercial cooking equipment for restaurants including a variety of cooking appliances, griddles, charbroilers, conveyorized ovens, convection ovens, as well as products for concession stands, snack bars, and arenas, like the Titan's Stadium, like hotdog equipment, and popcorn machines. We distribute and sell worldwide.'

"Star is a privately held company since 1989, about six years after we first built the plant. But last December, we sold the business to the Middleby Corporation, which is a publicly owned corporation headquartered in Chicago. Middleby has some 19 different divisions manufacturing food service equipment and food processing equipment. We're one of their larger divisions, one of their more profitable divisions and that's why this opportunity really came along, although we've expanded from 50,000 square feet to almost 200,000 square feet on our own. Middelby enables us to utilize the great resources we have here in Smithville, the people, and the talent we have working for us. They (Middleby) have businesses that aren't performing as well as we are or don't have the skills we do in manufacturing, so we're very fortunate that they supported us in acquiring this land and are supporting us in our plans to eventually start building, expanding, and bringing more jobs here so I'd like to thank Middleby for supporting us in what we're doing.'

"I've been with the company since 1982. I joined one year before we actually opened in Smithville. I came up through the sales and marketing part of the business until I became president in 1999. I've been very impressed with the people of Smithville, the work ethic, and the fact that we've grown a lot. We've always been able to attract good people, even with the other industries in the surrounding area. I think we're very fortunate. This has been a great expansion for us and we want to continue it."

"We're (Star) is headquartered in Saint Louis, Missouri but we have (Middleby) companies in North Carolina, Illinois, New Hampshire, Vermont, Nevada, Michigan, and other places in the country along with a manuacfuring facility in the Philippines."

County Mayor Mike Foster says the new jobs being created by Star will be a big boost to the local econony. "The state is going to help them with infrastructure and some of the fast track programs such as site drainage permits, etc. They (state) will assist with some of the initiatives like tax incentives for each job they create, which they would do for any factory that comes in with 25 people or more and expends at least $500,000. They (Star) will probably construct a building in the neighborhood of $8 and $20 million dollars. Hopefully, it (additional jobs) will contribute around $8 million dollars a year to the economy here once they get up to full speed. The county is helping them (Star). We put up the earnest money on the property. We did the topo mapping for the property back when we were trying to decide if it was suitable. We are going to help them with the surface to water run-off permit, which we already have done. We'll also do some other things, infrastructure wise and drainage wise to help them get their program going. But the big contribution was through Economic and Community Development of the State of Tennessee. Don Rigsby helped us with that as well as other people."

"Star bought the land from an individual. It was put in their name. They will transfer it to the DeKalb County Industrial Development Board in order to take advantage of the way the government sets up their programs. The first two years will be tax free (to Star) because they don't have any building or anything there yet (on the new property). The third year, it will be 20% of what it's appraised at. The following year, it will be 40%, then 60%, then 80% of the appraised value. That is being done to stimulate them in their early years. They've been here 25 years and this new expansion is hopefully going to create a minimum of 210 jobs. Work on the site, as far as clearing and site prep will begin just as soon as we can get the permit back from the state."

According to the company website, Star Manufacturing International, Inc., headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, has been making durable, reliable, quality products since 1921. That year, Star introduced it's first product, a popcorn machine. Since then, the company has grown and expanded into one of the world's most respected and valued manufacturers of products in six major categories: Counter Top Gas and Electric Commercial Cooking Appliances, Hot Dog Cooking and Preparation Equipment, Popcorn Machines, Specialty Food Warmers ,Display Merchandisers, Toasters & Waffle Bakers

Star products are used in a broad range of applications that include fast food, leisure, concessions and traditional restaurant operations. Star manufactured equipment is used in little league, big league ball parks, arenas, stadiums, restaurants and convenience stores.

(Pictured left to right: Star Plant Manager Fred Edington, County Commissioner Randy Caplinger, Star President Frank Ricchio, County Mayor Mike Foster, County Commissioners Jerry Scott, Bobby Joines, and Jack Barton, and Tommy Martin of Star Manufacturing)

Barn and Ski Boat Destroyed in Tuesday Afternoon Fire

September 17, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Fire Fighters Battle  Blaze at Donnie Agee Barn (photo provided by Callie Matthews)
Donnie Agee Barn Gutted by Fire (Photo provided by Callie Matthews)

A fire Tuesday afternoon destroyed a barn and a ski boat belonging to Donnie Agee at 8375 Holmes Creek Road.

Agee told firefighters that he was winterizing a ski boat housed inside the barn when a backfire from the boat sparked the blaze.

Agee called 911 around 4:00 p.m. and members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, Main Station, and Tanker Truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded but found the barn fully engulfed in flames upon their arrival. The boat, barn, and other personal belongings in the barn were destroyed.

Fire fighters were able to contain the blaze to keep it from spreading to other structures in the area.

No one was injured.

(Photos by Callie Matthews)

Bain and Weaver Scheduled to Debate

September 17, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Cleveland Derrick Bain
Terri Lynn Weaver

The first debate between the candidates for State Representative will be held later this month.

Democrat Cleveland Derrick Bain and Republican Terri Lynn Weaver will participate in this public forum on Monday, September 29th at the Temperance Hall Community Center.

Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. The debate will begin at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be available before and after the debate.

The candidates will each answer questions posed to them by representatives of WJLE, the Smithville Review, and the Middle Tennessee Times.

The public is invited to attend to learn where the candidates stand on the issues.

WJLE will broadcast the forum LIVE.

DCHS Band Is Hot In Hendersonville

September 16, 2008
by: 
DCHS Band Boosters
DCHS Band

On Saturday, September 13th, the DCHS Fighting Tiger Marching Band traveled to Hendersonville and competed in their first competition of the season. Despite the sweltering 91 degree heat, the band received trophies for First Place Horn Line in Class E, First Place Field Commander in Class E, and First Place Band in Class E.

“Being my first year here in DeKalb County, I was impressed with the talent in this band” said Band Director Jonathon Wright “I was very pleased with their success at this competition and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

In addition to these trophies, the score sheets revealed that the Color Guard placed third in class. The Percussion section placed second in class and Field Commander, Hunter Tramel not only received First Place in Class, but he had placed SECOND out of ALL THE COMPETING BANDS of the entire day although those achievements were not publicly announced.

After the performance, the band loaded back on the bus and went to Rivergate mall for dinner and a little “unwind time”. Some students just enjoyed the air conditioning while others took a spin in the carousel inside the mall. Either way, the trip to the mall was much needed before returning to Hendersonville High School for the awards ceremony.

Assistant Director Kelly Jo Birmingham said “I am so proud of the Band. They have worked really hard to get to where they are now, and they all know we have a long way to get to where we are going!”

The Band and Boosters would like to thank the bus drivers that take us there and hang with us through out the day. Without them the band would not get to compete. We would also like to say thanks to Sheriff Patrick Ray and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Dept for the escort into (and through) town that night.

For more information about the band and its sponsors or schedule, log onto www.dekalbband.com

Smithville Police and Fire Departments Both Want Old Fire Hall

September 15, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings has made a request of the Mayor and Aldermen that apparently is not setting well with the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.

Chief Jennings wants to expand the police department into the old fire hall, now that the fire department has moved into the new fire hall.

Chief Jennings came before the Mayor and Aldermen Monday night to formally make the request.

Chief Jennings says the police department needs extra space to store records, house equipment and the K-9 dog, and to more securely bring in prisoners for processing. "What I'm asking the board to do is to approve the expansion of the police department into the old fire hall. We need a sally port. One bay would be used to bring prisoners in, remove them from the vehicles, and bring them into the department for processing. Generally when we have problems with prisoners it's when we exit the patrol cars and start toward the building. We need that (space) to unload these prisoners in a secure area. I understand the doors (to the firehall) have electric openers on them. We could put one in each car and when an officer pulls up, he could raise the door, pull in, lower the door, and remove the prisoner from the vehicle"

"Another bay would be used to place a 10 x 10 pre-fabricated dog pen in there to hold our drug dog. Due to the high price of gasoline, we can no longer leave our K-9 in the patrol unit with the air conditioner running, so we have to bring him into the police department. When we bring him into the police department, we do not have a place to put him. There could be a danger of the dog biting a citizen that comes in. Another down side is the dog could use the bathroom in the floor in the police department, and we'd have to clean it up. If we had that bay, we could put the K–9 out there in that. Also when the K-9 officer goes on vacation or has to be out of town, we have to pay a board bill on the dog. So we could place the dog in a cage there and we could feed and water him which would reduce the cost that we would have to put out for paying a board bill. That would save us some money. "

"We have an emergency response van over here in this old building across the street. We would like to secure it in the other bay in a more secure area than what it is now because when it's fully equipped and everything, the equipment we have on it certainly needs to be in a secured area."

"The office back there (in the old fire hall) would be used to conduct police business and it would relieve some of the overcrowding in the present offices that we are experiencing each day. The smaller room in the old fire hall would be used for a records room. We currently have records stored upstairs here. We have five large filing cabinets containing arrest files stored in the city tax department and when the front office closes, we do not have access to these records. And when the secretary needs to look through the records upstairs, she has to come all the way upstairs and go into the storage room to view those records. If we are given the old fire department, we would be able to move all our records down there and we would have them in the police department"

" The police department is a full time agency that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We have ten full time officers who work 12 hour shifts, one chief, one secretary, and one officer who is on medical leave. We have approximately 1, 420 square feet of usable office space in the department and we're operating in very cramped quarters. So I come before you tonight to ask you to allow us to expand into the old fire hall."

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker says even though the fire department is now in the new addition, the old fire hall is still needed and he asked that the council take no action until a meeting is held to give his fellow firefighters, who are opposed to the request, an opportunity to be heard. "Before you make any decision on that I wish you would look into it and ask these ladies and gentlemen (firefighters) their opinion. I figured this day would come when someone would try to move into some of our space. I did make them (firefighters) a promise that if that did happen, we would have a meeting and they could express their comments and concerns. I would ask that you look into that very closely. Some of you are new and don't know what promises were made (by previous city officials) when we were doing that (new building) because we tried to get a little more expansion on the bottom floor but we were told we could retain our old stuff."

"At present we still have a squad vehicle that's parked in there (old fire hall). We also have the exercise equipment. We have managed to obtain exercise equipment for the firefighters and their families to use. That's one of the few perks that they do get."

"We're not through growing yet, unless you want to stop us. We have been an aggressive department. We have managed to purchase some class-A equipment, obtain class-A training, and we have some class-A firemen.. We want to continue growing. Mr. Hendrixson had asked me about using one of the bays as a sally port to get prisoners in and out. I said we could probably work something out where they could do that, but we're still not through growing. When we get another vehicle we're going to need a place to put it. We would like to add some full time personnel. We would like to add more equipment. We want to continue to grow or you can stop us and we can go back. It's entirely up to the city council as to what we do from this point. We can go forward or we can go backward. Not just on this matter, but other things."

Alderman Tonya Sullivan made a motion that the council take no action at Monday night's meeting. Alderman Steve White seconded the motion. The other three aldermen, Cecil Burger, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins, Sr. all voted in favor of the motion,

Alderman White, who is the Police and Fire Commissioner, said he was unaware of the request prior to Monday night's meeting. "It was mentioned to possibly be a safer place for the police department to bring in prisoners, but taking over the whole fire hall was not ever mentioned to me until now. I think we do need to meet with the fire department to see their side of it and how they are using this facility because it's like Charlie said this was in the plans when we planned the other (new) fire hall. It was to go along with the new fire hall. It's not like they were abandoning the (old) fire hall. They are still using it."

Members of the fire department issued a brief statement Tuesday morning responding to some of Chief Jennings' comments Monday night. In the statement, the fire fighters say "the SWAT van Richard (Jennings) is referring to WILL NOT fit into the old firehall. It's too tall. That space (fire hall) is NOT air conditioned. Therefore they couldn't put their (drug) dog in there anyway. There's a large hose dryer in one of the rooms. The room was built around it. The entire wall would have to be demolished to get it out. If and when the fire department gets a ladder truck, the Rescue Van would have to be kept in the old firehall. This means two bays would be in use (Service Company Van and Rescue Van).

In other business Monday night, the aldermen voted 4 to 1 to grant a request by Police Lieutenant Steven Leffew that the city pay his salary while he is off duty on a ten week training course in police management in Nashville

The course will be from October 6th until December 19th.

Leffew told the Mayor and Aldermen Monday night that he initially applied for a two week school in supervision of police personnel, but that course was canceled. His application for financial aid for the ten week course in staff and command training was approved and his tuition of $3,200 will be fully funded including the costs of his lodging and meals. Leffew requested that the city pay his salary during the ten weeks while he is in the course, but no overtime or drive time.

Police Chief Richard Jennings raised some concerns about Leffew's request. According to Chief Jennings, Leffew is the department's only evidence technician, meaning no other officer, including himself, is authorized to enter the evidence room, for accountability reasons. "It would be ten weeks before we could enter or get anything out of the evidence room. If the city puts someone in his place while he's gone, I would request they be certified as an evidence technician and an inventory be made of the evidence room before the new person comes in."

As far as his absence, Lieutenant Leffew said the department has a relief officer (Nathan Estes) whose job is to fill in for other police officers during their absence. As for the evidence room, Leffew says fellow officers have been appointed to oversee evidence in the department before, when he was away on vacation.

Chief Jennings says during the ten week period when Leffew is off duty, other officers may also have to miss work due to sickness or other reasons and that this could create an overtime problem since the relief officer couldn't possibly cover for all the absences. Jennings added that he will be taking a vacation himself around that period of time.

According to the Chief, the city will incur additional expenses, not accounted for in the police department budget, in order to meet Leffew's request and he further suggested that it might also set a precedent. "If other officers ask for ten weeks of training we would be hard pressed to refuse them."

Alderman Steve White, who is also the Police Commissioner, made a motion that the city grant Leffew's request and pay his salary while he is enrolled in the ten week training course because of his longevity with the city. White said he believes the police department has enough employees to cover for Leffew in his absence. "We shouldn't have to hire another employee. We have ten full time officers and one part time officer and with the 12 hour shifts, they don't all work all the time."

Alderman White added that Chief Jennings initially signed off on Leffew's request to apply for the financial assistance to take this course and he believes the city should not deny Leffew the opportunity to receive this training.

After the meeting, White said he believes officers, in the future, who seek training should first come before the city council to receive approval, before making application for the course or the financial assistance.

Aldermen Cecil Burger, Willie Thomas, and Tonya Sullivan all voted in favor of White's motion. Alderman Jerry Hutchins, Sr. voted against it.

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