Gleason Board Approves Use of Force Policy

Gleason Alderman voted to approve changes to Gleason Police Department’s Use of Force Policy, as recommended by Police Chief Paul Eddlemon. The revised policy was crafted based on recommendations by Gov. Bill Lee.

BY DAVID FISHER

david@dresdenenterprise.com

GLEASON (September 10) — The Gleason City Board approved amendments to Gleason Police Department’s Use of Force Policy, as recommended by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.

In July, Governor Bill Lee gave 60 days for every police department in the state to review its use-of-force policy and duty-to-intervene policy.

Gleason Police Chief Paul Eddlemon submitted the department’s revised policy to the Board during its meeting held Thursday evening.

Chief Eddlemon said the language to the policy has changed. Some of the highlights the police chief mentioned include:

* The statement officers are required to value and preserve human life.

* The use of choke holds are clearly defined, stipulating it should considered use of deadly force.

* The use of warning shots are also now prohibited.

* Deadly force is permitted if someone is attempting to run over police officers with a vehicle.

* Discharging a service weapon from a moving vehicle is prohibited unless someone is attempting to block a police vehicle in.

* If a service weapon is drawn, but not pointed at anyone, it is not a use of force. However, if it is pointed at a subject, it is regarded as use of force.

* The duty-to-intervene section of the policy states, if a police officer sees another officer violating someone’s civil rights, even if the violator is a superior officer, he or she must act to stop it from happening and report the incident to higher authorities.

* Officers have a duty to render medical aid and call an ambulance if a suspect or someone injured in an accident needs medical attention.

Chief Eddlemon stated officers are instructed to review what the policy says and means, so there will be no confusion as to what actions are allowed and which actions are prohibited.

“I read it and think it’s an excellent policy,” Alderman Jim Phelps said.

Sewer Rehab Grant

Under new business, the board approved a resolution awarding the contract for rehabilitating the city’s sewer system to Moore Construction from Clarksville, Tennessee, which submitted the lowest bid.

The project is funded through a grant the City of Gleason received to rehab its sewer system. The sewers have already been smoke-tested to locate pipe leaks. The grant also provides funding to repair the sewer system. Additionally, it funds the purchase of a sewer camera to help identify the exact location of blockages and breaks in the pipes. This saves a lot of time and money when digging up and replacing damaged pipes.

Fireworks Ordinance

The Gleason Board approved the second and final reading of an ordinance specifying the dates and times fireworks can be used inside the city limits.

The ordinance defines fireworks as “any composition or device for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, deflagration or detonation and which also meets the definition of Tennessee law.”

The ordinance stipulates fireworks can only be used July 1-4, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., except on July 4, which allows the use of fireworks from 10 a.m. until 11:30 p.m.

Fireworks are also allowed December 31 through January 1, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.

The detonation of fireworks at other times is prohibited.

However, the use of fireworks can also be prohibited if a burn ban order is in effect during these dates.

Violators of this ordinance shall be subject to a $50 fine for each occurrence.

Driving School Fees Ordinance

In other board action, members approved the second and final reading of an ordinance amending the City of Gleason’s municipal code “to establish reasonable court costs.” The court costs vary depending on the offense. According to Eddlemon, the resolution increases court costs from $90 to $100 for all citations.

The ordinance reduces the cost for driving school from a $90 fine and another $90 in court costs, totaling $180, to a flat $150 for the fine and court costs.

The ordinance stipulates the average total cost for traffic-related offenses is $168.75. This includes a $50 fine, $13.75 litigation tax, $100 in court costs and a $5 electronic citation fee.

The average total cost for most other offenses, including public intoxication, disturbing the peace, anti-noise violation, littering and violation of the leash law, is $155.

E-Citations Ordinance

An ordinance amending Gleason’s municipal code to adopt the utilization of electronic citation (e-Citation), regulations and fees was approved on second and final reading.

E-Citation is an automated form of creating and issuing citations to offenders, and collecting the related data.

The ordinance authorizes electronic citations to be filed in court, along with a fee to recover costs associated with handwritten and electronic citations.

The resolution states “electronic citation” refers to “a written citation or an electronic citation prepared by a law enforcement officer on paper or an electronic data device with the intent the citation shall be filed electronically or otherwise, with a court having jurisdiction over the alleged offense. Pursuant to and in accordance with state statutory requirements, each court clerk shall charge and collect an electronic citation fee of $5 for each citation which results in a conviction.”

A sunset provision requires this ordinance and its fee requirement to terminate five years from the date of its adoption and the city’s code shall also be annotated.

Reports and Announcements

In department reports, Alderman Phelps said the Gleason Library has updated five of its computers to meet increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 2,300 patrons used the computers. WiFi is available inside and outside of the library, however, users must have a library card and password to access the system. Phelps added all patrons must renew their cards by December 31, 2020.

Three additional lights have been installed at Snider Park to better illuminate the concession stand.

A local business has expressed interest in procuring 14 acres of city-owned property to expand its operations. The board will hold a called meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, September 17, to address the land sale issue.

Alderman Phelps stated the new dog park is already being used, and once everything is installed, Randy Boyd, who donated the funds for the project, will be contacted and asked to come to Gleason for the grand opening.

The next regular meeting of the Gleason City Board is at 7 p.m., Thursday, October 9.

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