In addition to the chief, Rooks swore in five other full-time officers and two part-time officers. The council had appointed Benefield chief in August, but he had yet to be sworn in, Rooks said.
Some have been working for the department for several months, such as Officer Corey Ligon, employed since July. Some are changing job titles, such as William Chapman, who has been serving as animal control officer and will be attending the Police Academy to become one of the new officers.
Others, such as Ross McGlaughn, are relatively newer hires. McGlaughn will serve as the school resource officer. McGlaughn said he took the training about four years ago and has attended the annual conferences to keep his designation as school resource officer. He came to the Heflin Police Department from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office.
“As you all know, we were awarded a grant from COMPS (U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing) for a resource officer,” Rooks said during the meeting. “It just so happened that Ross, that’s his forte.”
Benefield said McGlaughn will start at the department today, working in the Cleburne County elementary, middle and high schools next week. The $107,300 grant will pay nearly all the school resource officer’s salary for three years. The city will have to pay about $12,000 a year, said City Clerk Shane Smith. The grant requires the department to keep the officer on staff for at least one year after the grant ends.
In other business the council members:
— Declared a 2006 Dodge Charger used by the police department and an AM General M920 truck tractor used by the street department as surplus. The mayor will sell the vehicles.
— Declared Nov. 4 as International Students Day.
— Approved waiving the fees for the local chapter of Relay for Life to use the Heflin Civic Center for its gala on Feb. 14.
— Authorized the mayor to seek estimates to repair the roof on the field house and on one wing of the civic center.
— Heard the city will be building a walking track at the Community Arts Center. The track will be 1/3 mile or 1,760 feet, Rooks said. The city will be contributing at least $4,000 and the Cleburne County Commission allocated some money toward the project. Rooks was unsure how much but said Commissioner Emmett Owen thought it would be about $22,000.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.