The Statham City Council agreed to amend the take-home policy of police vehicles for the chief of police in order to more effectively serve the city.
Steve Martin, Statham’s newly appointed chief of police, lives approximately 12 miles outside the city. This is the first time in 40 years that Statham’s police chief has not lived in the city.
Martin approached the council seeking either a revision to the take-home policy of police cars or to make his own personal car a certified emergency vehicle, complete with a red light marking it.
This would ensure that the chief could make it to the city quickly and legally in case of an emergency.
Martin supplied a list of several scenarios where he would need to get to the city even if he was off duty. Reasons included: an officer having to use a weapon, a police chase/pursuit or a bad accident.
The council was unanimously in favor of amending its policy over allowing Martin an emergency vehicle permit, which satisfied the chief.
“(Using a personal vehicle) is a significant liability I would be accepting on my part,” Martin said. “But in the interest of executing the duties that you guys have placed upon me, I need an answer on one or the other.”
Council member Gayle Steed said she felt that the chief is ultimately responsible each day, all day, and was in favor of amending the policy.
“I do feel like the chief needs to have a take-home car,” she said. “I feel like that would be the easiest solution and the safest solution.”
The council voted in favor of amending the policy given the responsibility of the chief.
Since Martin lives 12 miles outside the city, the change adds 24 miles a day in additional gas costs that the city pays.
In other business at the Statham City Council meeting Tuesday night:
•a conditional use request was denied for a tavern at 1946 Railroad Street, Suite 2700. The council denied the request because of the proximity to residential housing and also didn’t want the street crowded with people. Joe Hayes opposed the denial.
•a conditional use request was approved for a package store at 1946 Railroad Street, Suite 1400. The council said it felt the store, owned by the owner of Sarah’s Mexican Restaurant, would help business in the city.
•the city approved a Winder-Barrow Industrial Building Authority Contract, which it renews each year.
•a resolution adopting an ordinance regarding emergency management was tabled until a second reading can take place.
•a request from a resident to have a water bill amended was denied. The resident was renting to a tenant who left, but failed to have the water cut off and the homeowner wanted a reduction. The city said that it has a firm policy on amending bills and opted to deny the request.