Bicyclists warned off Como Main St.; chief seeks additional officers 1/14/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 17, 2014

Bicyclists warned off Como Main St.; chief seeks additional officers

By John Howell Sr.
Como Main Street sidewalks will soon have signs warning bicyclists and skateboarders to stay off.

The town’s mayor and aldermen approved Police Chief Earl Burdette’s request for the signs, adopting a resolution to purchase three signs at a cost not to exceed $300 from tourism tax proceeds.

Burdette said that Main Street merchants had asked for the signs to be posted.

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In other police business during the town’s Second Tuesday meeting, Burdette asked permission to hire Adam Willard as a part-time police officer. Willard is also trained as an accident reconstructionist, Burdette said.

The police chief said that one officer had recently quit. Burdette cited the recent crime spree that resulted in gunfire directed towards police in Sardis and Batesville and the ensuing auto theft and kidnapping and said that Como needs to maintain two police officers on duty at all times.
“That two-per-shift is going to be tough,” Mayor Everette Hill said.

The elected officials told Burdette that he could hire Willard, based on a vote several months ago that allowed him to hire up to three officers.

Burdette’s request for equipment that will allow officers to unlock motorists’ vehicles triggered words of caution from assistant Town Attorney Kate Patterson.

“We need to have a release signed to release police for liability for damage,” Alderman John Walton said.

“There are cities that don’t allow their police officers to do that type of stuff due to liability issues,” Patterson said. “What happens if it’s not the person’s car?” she asked.

Aldermen took no action on the request.

During his departmental report, Burdette said that municipal court clerk Bertha Jones had been called out during nights and days off to accept fine payments, “…because of the fact that I don’t want to be fooling with money,” he said.

“It generally takes an hour,” he added, citing paperwork and time awaiting bail bonds people.