EARLY — Officers in Early want the community to see that police work isn’t just about writing tickets or taking offenders to jail.
“We want to be there for the community. We do want to sincerely help people. We want people to see the other side of who we are,” officer Shawn Dibrell told Early City Council members Tuesday night.
Dibrell, accompanied by officers John Mills and Steven Means, told council members about the recent formation of an organization to help accomplish that goal — the Early Municipal Police Association.
The nonprofit organization was formed Nov. 5, and is not affiliated with any other organizations, Dibrell said.
He said police “sometimes get a bad rap” and are viewed negatively by motorists they stop.
“We want to be visible, proactive in the community — maybe hold fund-raisers for clothing after a fire,” Dibrell said.
The department’s five patrol officers and clerk are members, and the police chief and assistant police chief are invited to become associate members, Dibrell said.
Dibrell thanked Mayor Bob Mangrum and the council for their job and their efforts in taking care of the department. The association isn’t a union for negotiating pay raises, Dibrell said.
Mills drew laughter when he said the association “is not here to overthrow local government.”
“By no means is this a coup to overthrow local government,” Dibrell added.
In other business, council members:
Appointed Deborah Stewart to fill the unexpired term of Jim Curlee on the Early Economic Development Corp. board. Agreed opt out of taxation of “goods-in-transit,” which would mean levying property taxes of goods that are brought into the state and stored. Approved a Chamber of Commerce request to use $1,032 in beautification funds to buy “Welcome to Early” signs for highways entering the city.