BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (December 6) — One of the top items for discussion during the Monday, December 6, meeting of the Dresden City Board, was a police officer recruitment program, designed to attract and keep officers on the Dresden Police force.
Police Officer Recruitment Program
Mayor Washburn presented a proposal for recruiting and retaining police officers.
The recruitment proposal would allow individuals interested in becoming officers to apply to the City of Dresden and be hired, should they meet the qualifications and pass the physical and psychological tests.
The recruitment plan calls for allowing an individual to be employed by the City of Dresden and attend the law enforcement training academy at their expense; and allow the City of Dresden to enter into a contract with the employee, which obligates the city to repay the costs of the academy to the employee over a two-year period.
However, if an officer decides to move to another law enforcement agency, or any other job for that matter, prior to serving the two years as outlined in their contract, they would be responsible for repaying the city the difference.
The board unanimously approved the police officer recruitment proposal.
In a related matter, Mayor Washburn stated an individual has recently been hired by the Dresden Police Department who entered into a contract with Gibson County for this very reason. He stated there is a balance of about $1,750 owed to Gibson County.
Mayor Washburn proposed the City repay Gibson County and enter into a contract with the individual, which requires the officer to at least work the remainder of the term of the initial contract.
City Attorney Beau Pemberton stated the contract could be paid off in about six months.
It was noted the officer has a good record and is bilingual, which is an added bonus when dealing with certain non-English speaking individuals.
This request also received board approval.
Mayor Washburn said the police department is fully staffed at present, but an officer is retiring in the near future and another officer will need to be hired.
Retirement Plan Study
The board also approved an actuarial study to determine the potential benefits city employees could receive by switching from the City of Dresden’s retirement plan to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System plan, which could also possibly create a cost savings for the city.
(See separate article, “Dresden Board Authorizes Retirement Plan Study.)
The board approved the second and final reading of a zoning ordinance amendment regulating height-based setbacks for communication towers.
The revised ordinance states, “Communications towers may be placed closer than the designated setback from the nearest property line, lease line, or site line, only if a letter from a licensed engineer is provided that states that the fall radius for the proposed tower would extend no closer than the 10 feet from said nearest property line, lease line or site line.”
Following a public hearing, during which time there were no public comments for or against the zoning ordinance, the board approved the ordinance by unanimous vote,
Communications from the Mayor
Mayor Washburn updated the board on events during the past month. He stated Dresden’s Christmas Open House went well with lots of activities taking place.
“We’re still working on park expansion,” Mayor Washburn said. “They know of our interest. We have communicated with them verbally and by mail. The ball’s in their court.”
The mayor asked that Ford Construction be contacted and placed on the list for patch work to be completed, once they open up in the spring.
The Board asked for pricing to be obtained from Ford Construction on cutting the shoulders of Swanson Drive.
Public Works Director Josh Lassiter stated a main bearing wore out and a control switch was broken on the leaf collector, but should be operational soon.
Mayor Washburn and Water Plant Supervisor Jeff Pierpoint informed the board that the water purity of wastewater being dumped into the Obion River has greatly improved since last year. This is due to locating and reducing rainwater infiltration into the sewer system, the efficiency of the lagoon filtering system, and the state allowing cities to average test results over a one-year period.
Police Chief Chris Crocker mentioned that the problem of Jake Brakes (compression-release engine brakes) persists. Regular brakes are allowed, but the use of Jake Brakes is banned within the City of Dresden and most other cities, due to the loud noises the brakes emit. However, Chief Crocker stated the problem of loud auto mufflers has subsided considerably.
It was mentioned that one of Dresden’s fire engines was taking part in Martin’s Christmas Parade Monday night.
Mayor Washburn announced the City of Dresden offices will be closed Friday, December 24, and Monday, December 27 for the Christmas holidays, and January 3 for New Year’s.
The consensus of the Board was to move the January Board meeting to Monday, January 10, 2022, due to the New Year holiday being observed on the regular meeting date of Monday, January 3, 2022.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned.