Clanton to consider implementing set parade days and fee for using off duty officers on other days

Published 11:18 am Friday, June 25, 2021

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Clanton City Council is set to consider adding a fee for some events that require off-duty Clanton Police officers for safety and traffic concerns.

Any time a parade goes down Highway 31, police officers have to be present to ensure everyone stays safe. A permit also has to be applied for with the Alabama Department of Transportation.

During the June 24 council work session, Police Chief Erick Smitherman presented a plan that would establish four parade days coinciding with the traditional Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade, Back the Blue, Peach Festival Parade and the Clanton Christmas parade. If approved, any additional parades that are held on these days would have the fee waived, since officers had already been secured to work that day. Start times would be scheduled ahead of time.

“There kind of needs to be some kind of balancing act … (to determine) what parades are going to be and what parades are not because a lot of these parades will wind up being three or four people, but when three or four people want to go down the middle of 31, you have to block that off,” Smitherman said.

This requires paying overtime to police officers that were not scheduled to work that day. Smitherman said depending on the event and the number of officers, it can cost the city up to $3,000.

Parades and events on other dates could be approved under this plan, but whoever is holding the event would be required to pay for the officers.

Smitherman and Mayor Jeff Mims said community fundraiser runs would be encouraged to use the park trails, which would be safer and not require a police presence.

Charging to use off-duty officers is a system already used by some municipalities, including Prattville.

Mims requested that the required resolution be ready in time for the June 28 meeting.

Another vote expected at the June 28 meeting will be to approve a memorandum of understanding with a grant writer specifically for the city. Mims said the position would be paid on a commission basis of 10% of the total of any grants they secure for the city. Mims said he wants to go after any and every grant the city could qualify for.

The Clanton Council also discussed adding GPS tracking hardware to all of the public works vehicles. Jeff Zissette, director of public works, said the devices would cost $17.45 a month and there were about 47 vehicles that needed them in the public works department. This would bring the cost to almost $10,000 per year.

“These things are not only GPS trackers, but they can also produce work orders (for) repair and vehicle maintenance,” Zissette said. “It also tracks how your drivers drive, where your assets are located and where they have been … over the last several days.

If the city decides to purchase them before July 15, installation would be free, Zissette said. If they wait the cost from installation could be as high as $80 per vehicle.

A vote is expected to be made on June 28. This meeting will be held at Clanton City Hall at  5p.m.