Council supports railroad safety commission

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A resolution urging Gov. Robert Bentley to establish an Alabama Commission on Railroad Safety was passed unanimously Monday by the Jemison City Council.

Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer explained to the council that the resolution would show that the city supported efforts for Bentley to get a task force together to study railroad systems.

“We have had some issues with railroad crossings being blocked, and it hinders the residents in the city,” Fulmer said.

Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed echoed Fulmer’s descriptions of the issues the city has faced dealing with the railroads.

“There have been times a train will stay parked and the gate is down, which prohibits any large vehicles from going around the gates,” Reed said. “That in turn causes a traffic jam for as long as you can see.”

Part of the resolution states that it is “imperative to study the operation of the rail transportation system in this state to identify areas of risk to public safety and advance proven and innovative technologies and procedures to promote public railway safety.”

The council also approved the addition of a policy in the JPD Director’s Manual dealing with body cameras.

Fulmer told the council JPD recently purchased body cameras for all of the officers in the department.

Fulmer said the department received a monetary gift from someone wanting the department to purchase body cameras for the police officers.

Reed explained to the council that the person who gave the money wanted to remain anonymous but told the council the money donated covered the purchase of the cameras.

“It was a great blessing for someone to donate that,” Reed said. “The gift made this possible.”

Reed told the council the person gave $15,000 to the JPD for the purchase of the cameras, and the council voted to amend the JPD budget by $15,000 to add the donation.

The council also voted to add a traffic homicide unit to the JPD manual at the request of Fulmer.

Reed also told the council about the upcoming spring cleanup week throughout the city set April 18-25.

The city holds the annual cleanup week each April in an effort to beautify Jemison and offer services for a citywide cleanup once a year on items a garbage truck does not normally pick up.

Residents are asked to have all objects they would like to discard placed by the roadside in time for pickup.

Items typically not picked up include car batteries, paint, tires or hazardous chemicals, but Reed said a detailed list of items would be provided for residents closer to the date.

The council unanimously voted to set the dates for the cleanup week.

Reed also told the council the state declared the same week as a state cleanup.

“We are glad to do this because it keeps our city clean,” Reed said.