Sheriff Roundtree says it would create a continuous policing district downtown, and says it will have an impact on making the area safer.
“These officers will know every business owner know all the patrons know the people who come downtown will know them by name and that makes a huge difference in law enforcement,” said Sheriff Roundtree.
Roundtree officially unveiled his plan before the commisison Public Safety Committee.
He's proposing paying for the nine officers that could grow to fifteen by creating another Business Improvement District downtown like the one use to pay for the CADI Program.
Commissioners did not renew the district late last year so a new one would have to be created.
What would need to happen is for a majority of property owners in the area would have to agree to tax themselves to pay for the increase police service. “We were approached by a lot of property owners who said we didn't like the BID as it was but if it was strictly for law enforcement will would participate, so that is sort of what we hung our hat on,” says City Administrator Fred Russell.
The other part of the plan involves hanging security cameras, 32 in all between Riverwalk and downtown at a price tag of about 350 thousand dollars.
“I'm prepared to do what ever is necessary to help insure that safety is paramount in our community I think he presented a very good plan, says Public Safety Committee Chairman Alvin Mason.
But the city will have to make plans to find the money for the cameras.
“Still looking at the moment obviously but I think it's well received and I think it will solve some of the issues we've got” says City Administrator Fred Russell. Sheriff Roundtree also told commissioners he has an issue with the hours at Riverwalk and is recommending the park close at 11 PM, something some commissioners objected to, but the Sheriff is of the believe nothing good can happen in the park after 11PM.
“All we have is water on the river and like I said at 2:30 in the morning there's nothing romantic about the river at 2:30 in the morning,” said Roundtree.
The committee endorsed the plan so it goes on to the full commisison, but still the downtown property owners will have to agree to tax themselves, and the city will have to find the funds to put in the security cameras.