CARBON HILL - The Carbon Hill City Council is expected to have a work session soon to discuss having a neighborhood work session, and on Thursday again discussed what it could do to cut down on …
CARBON HILL - The Carbon Hill City Council is expected to have a work session soon to discuss having a neighborhood work session, and on Thursday again discussed what it could do to cut down on late-night walkers roaming through neighborhoods.
District 4 Councilman Chandler Gann, District 5 Councilman Jason Chambers and District 6 Councilman Greg Anderson were absent from Thursday's meeting.
Police Chief Eric House noted a proposal for a Neighborhood Watch program was in the council's packet. The council had recently asked House to make recommendations on a program.
"I'm looking into the legalities and the liabilities, he said, adding he wants whoever will lead the effort as a citizens will understand the level of program the city wants to maintain. "There are even levels where citizens actually take shifts to ride, walk and do different things."
Anyone who wants to be in charge of the program is asked to contact House.
District 1 Councilman McClain Burrough said the watch was discussed recently as the council and citizens expressed concern at a recent council meeting about the number of people walking the streets. Burrough said council members thought a Neighborhood Watch program might provide "extra eyes and ears on the streets" for the police.
As he said Anderson and Gann were both interested in the program, he suggested tabling the idea until it could be discussed, possibly at a work session. House also suggested a work session on the program, adding Neighborhood Watch Associations can grow.
"But these people have to understand they can't wait three or four days and call somebody," House said, reminding the council of his past comments that he needs people to call the police immediately if they see suspicious behavior, instead of waiting until the next morning.
Mayor Mark Chambers noted the city's 10 p.m. curfew for youth age 17 or younger. He asked about a curfew on food and bicycle traffic. District 3 Councilwoman April Kennedy Herron asked about having such a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., with some possible exceptions.
House said officers know to stop and ID people walking the streets. However, he said the city has two stores open 24/7, leaving open the possibility for someone to say they are being harassed because they are only walking to one of those two stores.
That is where a Neighborhood Watch would be useful to establishing patterns of behavior for those people, House said.
Chamber said Third Avenue, a block over from District 2 Councilman Clarence Colbert's residence, "is the main corridor over there" for the walking, saying there was somebody up there at any hour with a backpack on. Colbert agreed, saying it was "all the time."
House said, "It is going to take the community getting together."
As House will not be at the Nov. 29 meeting, the council discussed getting up a workshop. at Herron's suggestion, Burrough said he could advertise the work session meeting on the city Facebook page.
Herron and Burrough said the police are doing all they can do. However, Herron, who has complained of situations near her residence, said it is frustrating when the public thinks no one is doing anything about it on the city's end. "I would really like to have something," she said. "This just can't be."
Burrough said the Neighborhood Watch is a good first step, and talked of the need of getting citizens to a work shop to hear the plan and convince them to help with it. One man in the audience offered to cook hotdogs to attract people to a meeting.
In other action, the council:
• Heard House recount that an arrest had been made in the recent armed robbery at Mill Creek Shell. Police Chief Eric House said that Walker County Sheriff's Office had also been involved with the arrest made by Jasper police on Sunday night. "He (Danny Ray Turner, 48, of Jasper) is currently in the county jail on $250,000 bond" for first-degree robbery and third-degree theft, House said. Chambers said he appreciated the department's work on the case. "An armed robbery around here doesn't happen every day and it scares a lot of people," he said. House noted he quickly started sharing video surveillance photos online and to the news media. "We had 70-something tips in like an hour and a half or so, and three-quarters of those were correct," he said.
• Agreed to accept applications through Nov. 28 for Terry Mason's seat on the Utility Board. The council is scheduled to vote on a nomination at the council's Nov. 29 meeting.
• Heard the Carbon Hill Christmas Parade will take place on Saturday, Dec. 8, although a time has not been set. Chambers said the line-up usually starts taking place 45 minutes before dark at the old county barn beside Mr. Pizza's. One can just show up with a float and officials will help line up the entry. Floats, vehicles, horses, go-carts, four-wheelers and other items can be entered. "Last year there were probably 10 bass boats in it. They decorated their bass boats," Chambers said.
House said the state will not grant any more parade permissions for Highway 78. "It will be on us 100 percent. But if you want to do it, I can get enough manpower to make it safe, House said. Herron said, "I always learned from Daddy that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission." Chambers replied, "You're not going to get forgiveness." However, House said, "It's going to be OK. You tell me you want to do it, I'll make it happen."