City Approves Major Crimes Investigation Mutual Aid Agreement

The City of LaGrange is still in a state of growth and prosperity with several new businesses choosing to make their home here, including places like the Great Wolf Resort and the newly planned Sentury Tire. As all of these changes continue to manifest, the Mayor, City Council, and all of the Staff are still working hard to make sure everything is still running smoothly all throughout the community. This past Tuesday, October 25, they held another of their regularly scheduled work sessions and meetings.

The first thing the City did at their meeting that night was to honor Dr. William C. Whitlow for all of his help with the police’s K9 unit. The LaGrange Police Department’s K9 unit is comprised of four officers that work different shifts. All of the dogs, which these officers have, have become parts of their family and they have care for them just as if they were additional children. Dr. Whitlow and his staff have been tending to the dogs for years, providing medical exams, x-rays, vaccinations, emergency visits, boarding, and many other things to keep these K9’s in perfect working order. The City and the Police Department honored Dr. Whitlow and his staff with a plaque and thanked him for all that he does.

The meeting continued while the city handled more business. They denied a claim that will now go to insurance and also annexed two pieces of property, 1734 and 1800 Whitesville Road, into the city. The property is near the Whitesville Road Elementary School. They also tabled a matter of re-zoning for 430 Hammett Road to a later date and time.

One important thing that the City accomplished that night will help further grow the relations of law enforcement throughout the entire county. By approving the Major Crimes Investigation Mutual Aid Agreement, the City has now approved measures with the LPD, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Police Department’s of West Point and Hogansville to be able to work together in investigations. The crews can consult with one another, send officers, and use equipment between departments and all of this will bring about better law enforcement throughout the entire community at large.

Earlier in the morning at the work session, the Mayor and Council also discussed other pressing matters to be discussed in future meetings. The first matter of discussion was storm water management and the defining of responsibilities. Currently, the City maintains public property and maintains drainage facilities on dedicated easements, also on public property. When large rain and flooding occurs, these are city responsibilities. When you move into other areas such as creek banks and a detention pond, all on private land, the situation becomes unclear as to whom the responsible party is. The matter boils down to where does city responsibility end and private owner responsibility begin. The group had a lengthy discussion and is looking into viable answers and solutions.

Also at the work session, Chief Lou Dekmar presented the group with the need for an additional fire station. In 1995, the City had three stations with 64 personnel. Now, there are 58 personnel to go amongst four stations. The addition of a new station and personnel would complete the standards for ISO, increase greatly some of the areas of response time, and would provide great benefits all around to the City and even the County and some unincorporated areas. The proposed station would be located near the Cameron Mill Road Water Treatment Plant, would require an additional seven personnel, use existing engines, and house the Dive Truck for quicker response to lake areas.

The overall cost would be around $500,000 and will include complete construction along with furnishings and necessities. There would be $184,662 for seven personnel (salary and benefits) for the remainder of the fiscal year (January – July), $23,000 for protective clothing, and $7,155 for the promotion of their personnel to the rank of Sergeant to have acting officer at the new station.

Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer