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W-ville mayor: Work toward PD continuing
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Editor, In response to your Dec. 5 article entitled “Walthourville puts police department on hold,” I feel it is necessary to make the following points. To begin, the “idea” for a police department was not “hatched” by former mayor Henry Frasier, as the article implies. Instead, an ordinance for the creation of a police department was read and adopted by the mayor and council on June 24, 1997, under the direction of then-mayor Carrie Kent. This ordinance has never been repealed, though the city subsequently contracted with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department for police protection. On Aug. 14, 2008, the council voted to “get the ball rolling” on establishing a police department, pursuant to the 1997 ordinance. The council authorized the clerk to reapply for the “originating agency identifier,” which is assigned by the FBI and is the generally the first step for the creation of a police department. Pursuant to the direction received from the council. I have looked long and hard at the issues and costs involved in creating a police department for the city, and prepared a budget and action plan for the council’s review.
On Nov. 20, the budget for fiscal year 2009 was presented, which included a comprehensive budget for an independent police department for the city of Walthourville. At our second budget meeting, on Dec. 1, we again went over the budget, along with the action plan that I prepared. A motion was subsequently made and seconded to approve those portions of the budget pertaining to the police department. According to the city charter, the motion passed.
As you can see, the city council did not vote to put the police department “on hold” at the Dec. 1 meeting. As Councilman Baker articulated in your article, the council agrees that the city needs an independent police department for the benefit and protection of its citizens, and we have worked together to develop an implementation plan that is fair to all concerned. The mayor and city council will continue to have as its paramount concern a strong law enforcement presence for the safety and protection of the citizens of Walthourville. As we move forward in this process, we will continue to ensure that the Coastal Courier and our citizens are kept abreast of the progress being made.

Daisy S. Pray
Mayor, Walthourville

Editor’s note: The Courier stands by its story.
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