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Lower crime rate at 'projects' results in RPD ending extra policing contract

July 10th, 2014 7:00 am by Jeff Bobo

Lower crime rate at 'projects' results in RPD ending extra policing contract

ROGERSVILLE — According to Rogersville police chief Doug Nelson the crime rate at the Rogersville Housing Authority has declined drastically over the past 10 years.

He said the cause may be a combination of some trouble making families being moved out, along with security cameras being installed throughout the RHA properties.

Since 2004 the RHA has been using federal grant funding to pay the Rogersville Police Department $20,000 extra per year to spend at least 25 hours per week at the "projects."

Ten years ago Rogersville police may have spent 35 hours or more working RHA patrol and investigations, but Nelson said that's no longer the case. These police barely spend half that amount of time at the "projects."

As a result, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution Tuesday rescinding an RPD contract with the RHA to provide additional policing.

Nelson told the Times-News Wednesday that the level of police protection provided to the housing authority won't change.

The only difference is the quarterly $5,000 checks that the RHA will no longer have to send the RPD.

"They originally wanted to assign an officer down there full time," Nelson said. "What we did was, anytime we patrol checked it, or worked a crime down there, we would report that time. As long as we had at least 25 hours a week, that was all we needed for the grant, but when we started out we would get 35 to 37 hours per week."

Nelson added, "As time went on we weren't getting the call volume there, and we weren't spending enough hours. Lately we've been there maybe 18 to 20 hours the past few months, and we can't collect that grant money if we're not putting in the hours."

Nelson said the RPD will be patrolling the "projects" the same as usual, which is the same as any other neighborhood in Rogersville.

"I don't have the statistics to back it up, but I can say the crime rate at housing projects is a lot lower than it was 10 years ago, and probably as low as any neighborhood in the city," Nelson said. "I just can't justify taking the money if we're not putting in the hours."

In other business Tuesday the BMA:

  • Agreed to contribute $1,500 to help offset travel and motel expenses for the Rogersville Little League All Stars as they travel this week to compete for the state championship.
  • The 11 and 12 year old Rogersville All Stars won the Tennessee District 4 Little League tournament Monday night, defeating the Morristown Nationals 8-7 in extra innings at the Rogersville City Park. The Rogersville team will travel this week to compete for the state championship in Tullahoma.
  • Authorized the RPD to purchase new pistols from the Springfield Armory due to no bids being received for the purchase of pistols for the police department.
  • Mayor Jim Sells also appointed a committee consisting of Chief Nelson and aldermen Mark Dewitte and Brian Hartness to establish criteria for the sale of used pistols. The committee will then submit recommendations to be compiled into an ordinance proposal for the BMA to consider.
  • Gave final approval to an ordinance requiring non-resident property owners who vote in Rogersville municipal elections to do so via absentee ballots.
  • Approved a budget amendment for the Rogersville City School 2014-15 budget increasing superintendent Rebecca Isaac's annual salary by $4,087, from $92,174 to $96,261.
  • Gave final approval to an ordinance increasing the water rate by 8 percent and the sewer rate by 20 percent. The average family would see its overall water bill increase by about $4.55 per month.
  • Approved the appointment of Shannon Evans and Melissa Peoples to the Hawkins County Library Board of Directors.
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