Council tables action to name Branscomb as chief

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SILVERHILL, Alabama — The Silverhill Council tabled action at the Monday, April 15 meeting to move Sgt. John Branscomb from the role of interim chief to permanent chief.

Before he resigned as mayor Tim Wilson asked the council if they would like to appoint Branscomb as chief. Council members then asked Branscomb if he would accept the position.

“I would be honored,” Branscomb said. “My only concern is how I can make that would work and still maintain duties as an SRO.”

Currently, Branscomb is the department’s only certified School Resource Office, maintaining an office in the school library. While the position of chief is designated as part-time it can require maintaining fulltime hours.

“I’m just not sure at this point how I could sustain both,” Branscomb said.

Branscomb was appointed as interim chief following the resignation of Michael Taylor on March 4.

Taylor served as the town’s acting chief following the resignation of Kevin Brock in January of 2018 and was hired to take over the position on a part-time basis in September.

The town currently has four full-time officers and four-part-time officers.

Sgt. Daniel Boutwell also performs duties as an SRO for the town, but has not yet received certification. Training for the SRO program in Baldwin County is only conducted during the summer and Boutwell is expected to complete his training by the time school starts in August.

The town has also been advertising for an SRO position, officials said, but so far has not received any qualified applications for the position, Branscomb said.

“If we can wait until the end of the school year, that will give me time to decide,” Branscomb said. The last day for students at Baldwin County schools is May 23. “It really all depends on who is going to fill that position.”

In other business, the council approved the purchase of body cameras and new weapons for the police department.

The body cameras, which will cost about $4,550, was a budgeted expense for the 2018-19 fiscal year, officials said, to upgrade outdated and failing equipment.

The council also approved the purchase of Glock sidearms for the police department at a cost of around $1,100. While not in the town’s budget, there is enough money in the department’s equipment fund to cover the expense, Branscomb said.

The police department currently maintains about seven sidearms for use by fulltime officers in practice training and when necessary for protection. For the most part, reserve officers use their own weapons and ammunition.

“It’s always good to have extra weapons in case we ever need them,” Boutwell said.

Also on April 15 the council:

•Approved a resolution for mosquito control.

•Approved a football sponsorship for Robertsdale High School at a cost of $50.

•Voted to surplus a Kubota mower from the town’s utilities department.

•Adopted updates to the town’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.