Cloverdale council considers plan to reduce police force

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CLOVERDALE -- An already small Cloverdale police force could get even smaller based on an ordinance passed by the town council Tuesday night.

Ordinance 2008-1, outlined in a previous BannerGraphic report, was passed unanimously during a special session Tuesday evening.

The ordinance, authored by Town Attorney Alan Yackey, essentially outlines the scope of authority for Town Marshall Don Pearson.

The document contains five major provisions, three of which will take effect immediately, and two which will go into effect on March 1.

Pearson now has the authorization to hire deputies and reserve officers with the advice and consent of the Town Council. Furthermore Pearson is in control of the officers with regard to outside employment. Pearson has the immediate authorization to hire up to 10 reserve officers. It is specified in the ordinance that reserves are to be ordered not to exercise their authority when not on official duty.

On March 1, Pearson will experience a reduction in force of one deputy. The ordinance specifies two deputy officers; three are currently employed.

Pearson, in a telephone interview with the BannerGraphic conducted shortly after the meeting's conclusion, said that the reduction in force wasn't a surprise to him. "I knew that it was a strong possibility," stated Pearson.

When asked what the public's perception might be regarding the loss of one of his officers, Pearson was quick to point out that his reserve staff would more than make up for the loss. "I have as many as seven people who are very qualified interested (in the reserve positions)," he said.

Pearson clarified with the council what restrictions would be placed upon him with regard to his decision making process when reducing his force. The council informed him that issues of seniority need not factor into his decision.

Pearson stressed that he would communicate closely with the council as he makes his decision. "I plan to interview everyone," Pearson stated. He went on to say that he would seek the advice and approval of the council before the final decision is made.

"I want us all on the same page," he said. "This is my second go around in this position ... I consider this my chance for redemption."

The final facet of the ordinance concerns personal use of department vehicles. Beginning in March, department employees must live in Cloverdale to be eligible to benefit from take-home vehicle privileges. The vehicles are not to be used other than in Putnam or one of its contiguous counties, and total monthly mileage may not exceed 3,500 miles.

It was clarified, after an inquiry from a member of the public, that all fuel costs, whether for business or personal use, would be absorbed by the department.

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  • "....a Police Agency needs to be answering to a local police agency or the Law Enforcement Academy...."

    What in the heck are you talking about? This comment made little sense. Can you try to explain it a little more throughly?

    If I remember correctly some members of the sheriff's department merit board are civilians. Maybe the county should do away with them as well. The town board members with legal guidance are more than capable of making decisions about the overall direction the law enforcement program in Cloverdale without getting into the day-to-day enforcement actions. The town marshall, it appears to me after last night, was given more control over his department to handle those day-to-day matters.

    -- Posted by CdaleResident on Wed, Jan 16, 2008, at 1:48 PM
  • I believe this is a step in the right direction to clean Cloverdale up. Yes,there are numerous areas that need to be addressed. I think you should put your complaint in writing or go to the council meetings and voice your concern.

    -- Posted by captain crunch on Wed, Jan 16, 2008, at 5:23 PM
  • ""I want us all on the same page," he said. "This is my second go around in this position ... I consider this my chance for redemption.""

    Redemption for what?

    I think the vehicle take home privileges seem fair enough and the reserve force should have the town covered well. '08 seems to be starting off well for Mr. Pearson.I didn't go to this meeting, but I'm sure there is more to it than what was reported here. Since the new ordinance holds positions for 2 deputies and we have 3, well, I wonder who's going now.

    -- Posted by strings on Wed, Jan 16, 2008, at 6:52 PM
  • The only reason that the police force is being cut is so they can find a way to get ride of Hallam. Pearson states "this is my second chance to redeem myself". Why doesn't anyone talk to those that use to work in Cloverdale?They can tell you how bad it was when he was Chief. From what I recall he lost a lot of officers under his command and those were not bad officers. Look where they're at now doing a lot better and they did not leave because they found better jobs they left because of the leadership. Does the Council not conduct background checks? If the counsel is hiring ten reserves, have they read the new legislation that is trying to be passed in which requires reserve officers to attend the Police Academy. Who is going to pay for the four months of this required academy? Who has four months of vacation time? Just thinking ahead……

    -- Posted by Rogger on Thu, Jan 17, 2008, at 3:26 PM
  • re-what a chance to prove himself, sounds as if pearson knows the same as the rest of us, he was a terrible chief before and now he'll do better, he'd have to. allow me to echo others get rid of pearson, start anew with someone who isn't connected to this town and get it straight, things are about to get further out of control, such as drugs, thefts, etc.

    there were some good officers pearson has gotten rid of through-out hid rein, open your eyes people, pearson is about to doop you again!

    -- Posted by gottokno on Thu, Jan 17, 2008, at 7:36 PM
  • It seems to me that the Town Council has enough problems trying to run the town without trying to run the law enforcement program in Cloverdale, too. Some things should be left to those who actually know how to do them. It really doesn't matter who our Town Marshall is, our problems will remain the same. We will still have a theft problem due to the out of control drug problem. We will still have a domestic violence problem. We will still have minors being served at the local bars without ID checks. We will still have the Town Council bickering over the little things and not seeing the big picture. The more negative publicity the town of Cloverdale has, the less likely anyone is going to want to move here and help our community grow.

    -- Posted by cloverlady on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 6:01 AM
  • Sounds like that they brought Pearson back, becuase the funeral home is going under and some of the cousel members helped finance the funeral home. Nothing like the city helping to foot some people's bad investment. Why doesn't the town counsel talk to the religious leaders to see what they think of Pearson. It hasn't been that long ago that Pearson cursed one of them out for asking a question.

    -- Posted by Rogger on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 6:39 PM
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