By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer
The Richmond City Commission unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday evening establishing the duties of city safety officers.
A safety officer is a nonsworn position with the police department. While they may not participate in hazardous duty, they are authorized to help with traffic control, issue parking tickets and respond to motorist assist calls.
If a city employs safety officers, City Attorney Garrett Fowles said, it is required by state law to adopt an ordinance outlining their responsibilities. The city has never had such ordinance although it employs one such officer, and the commission was unaware of the issue until it was brought forward by Police Chief Larry Brock.
According to the ordinance, safety officers may monitor and cite illegal parking, escort funeral processions, respond to motorists’ calls for help and report minor noninjury accidents and similar duties. Safety officers may issue citations for nonmoving incidents but do not have the authority to pull over vehicles in traffic.
Brock said Richmond’s safety officer provides a valuable service, freeing police officers to take the more dangerous assignments that only sworn law officers may handle.
In other business, the commission:
• Contracted with Windstream to provide a new City Hall phone system for $32,426.
• Accepted the resignation of Kurtis Heatherton from the police department.
• Changed the employment status of Chris Cantrell with the parks and recreation department from seasonal to part time.
• Agreed to have an Eastern Kentucky University graduate student work as an assistant in the parks and recreation department.
• Appointed Debbie Secchio to the human rights commission.
• Re-appointed James Miller to a four-year term on the planning and zoning commission.
• Accepted the resignations of Jason Gabbard and Katrina Wilson from the tourism commission.
Seth Littrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6623.