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Thorsby Council approves police department chaplain

Local pastor Steve Johnson is the new chaplain for Thorsby Police Department.

Johnson, the pastor at Union Springs church, is also chaplain for the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department and Jemison’s police and fire departments.

The move was recommended by TPD Chief Rodney Barnett and approved unanimously by the council members present.

Council member Neil Benson was absent from the meeting.

The department previously did not have a chaplain.

Police department chaplains can counsel victims of crimes, the families of deceased victims and officers who have been involved in traumatic situations related to their jobs, among other responsibilities.

“I think it’s something that is needed,” Barnett said.

Johnson, who was present at the meeting, said he would serve as chaplain on a volunteer basis.

“We just want to help and be a blessing,” he said.

The council also approved two other recommendations by Barnett: to bring on Randall Morris in a part-time role with the department and Hunter Hurst as a reserve officer.

In other business, the council:

•Approved to participate in a back-to-school sales tax holiday on Aug. 7-9.

•Accepted the resignation from Parks and Recreation Director Crystal Smith, and approved Chasity Chapman as the new director.

•Heard from Councilman Marvin Crumpton, who asked why tickets aren’t issued at the town’s Sam Bentley Park, where youth league baseball and softball games are played, so that a record could be kept of how much money had been collected for admission. Mayor Jean Nelson said she would look into the process.

•Heard from Nelson that she would present preliminary plans for Dearl Hilyer Park to the Swedish Festival Committee for suggestions or concerns.

•Approved an agreement with Local Government Services, which would represent the town in negotiations for the reception of franchising fees for companies that use public rights-of-way, such as cellular and other media companies. Town Clerk Crystal Smith said the town would pay a one-time fee of $1,000 to Local Government Services, and their work should produce quarterly payments of about $6,000 immediately, not including future arrangements that could yield more revenue.

•Heard from Public Works Director Terry Jackson that a couple of recent equipment failures had cost the department about $1,100 for repairs.

•Approved for Smith and Julie Adams to attend municipal court training on Aug. 14, and for Smith to attend town clerk training from Aug. 26-28.

•Approved paying appropriate bills along with the necessary transfer of funds.