HUSTONVILLE — Visibility of law enforcement in Hustonville would effectively double under a plan supported by Mayor Mark Spivey and Police Chief Fred McCoy to add a safety officer position to the Hustonville Police Department.
Spivey told Hustonville City Council members Tuesday night that Troy Cain, who has law enforcement experience with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, will begin a trial period of training with McCoy within the next few days.
Spivey said Cain has agreed not to be compensated during his trial period, during which McCoy and Spivey will train him.
After the trial period of 90-120 days, the city council will have the opportunity to review the situation, discuss how much Cain might be paid and move forward with him as an official member of the police department, Spivey added.
McCoy said having an additional person to patrol the streets will increase police visibility in the city and discourage people from committing crimes.
"Sometimes having someone just driving the cruiser around is enough to deter it," he said. "I don't see no negative in it as long as I get a qualified person."
Spivey provided council members with a job description for the new safety officer position that could be created for Cain.
The safety officer would be a "uniformed, non-sworn member of the Hustonville Police Department" who would have main responsibilities including handling "general public assistance calls," ticketing illegally parked vehicles, enforcing city ordinances and directing traffic at crash scenes, according to the job description.
Spivey said if hired, a safety officer would work separate shifts from McCoy in order to maximize the visibility of law enforcement presence.
The city council unanimously approved a motion showing their support for the move.
McCoy thanked the council and Spivey. He said while other places have seen bank robberies and other crimes over the years, Hustonville has been fortunate to have relatively peaceful streets.
Adding the safety officer will help ensure those peaceful streets remain peaceful, he said.
"We've done good over the years, but I think that's going to help us," he said.
Tax rates staying put
In other business, the city council approved a first reading keeping real and personal property tax rates for 2012 at the same rates they were in 2011.
If the council passes a second reading, the city's real property tax rate will remain at 11.9 cents per $100 of assessed value, and the personal property tax rate will remain at 33.8 cents per $100 of assessed value.
City Clerk Rita Clem said she did not yet have figures on how much total income the property tax would bring in this year compared to last.