Alderman questions how much time Granite Quarry Police spend in Faith

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Steve Huffman

Salisbury Post

FAITH — A member of the Board of Aldermen here raised questions Tuesday about the presence of police officers in town.

The questioning came during the board’s monthly meeting.

Since October, Faith has contracted with Granite Quarry for police protection. Officers from Granite Quarry patrol Faith’s streets and also respond to calls for help.

Faith’s leaders have said contracting with Granite Quarry gives them an increased police presence.

But Alderman Maxey Sanderson questioned Granite Quarry Police Chief Clyde Adams concerning how much time his officers are spending in Faith.

Sanderson said he’d heard from at least one person complaining about a lack of police protection and said he didn’t see any law enforcement officers at a number of functions taking place in town in recent weeks.

“I haven’t seen a police presence since the first couple of weeks” (that Granite Quarry began providing protection), Sanderson said.

He said traffic on South Main Street is “terrible.

“I guarantee it’s increased 5 to 10 miles per hour,” Sanderson said. “It is fact.”

He said he’d also like to see officers present at any number of events taking place in town. Sanderson suggested that officers go by local churches to pick up bulletins so they’d be aware of the town’s happenings.

“It seems unreasonable that all citizens have to call” (to have an officer on hand at an event), Sanderson said.

But others disagreed.

Mayor Pro Tem Mark Shores said, “I see ’em all the time,” referring to an increase in police presence since Granite Quarry officers began patrolling Faith.

Shores and Mayor Bill Johnson each said they’d gone through a pair of license checks in town in recent months. They said that before Granite Quarry was hired to provide police protection, they’d never seen such checks in Faith.

And Shores noted that officers being present at weddings and senior citizen dances (such as Sanderson mentioned) was not necessarily a wise idea. Aldermen said most police departments charge to have a uniformed officer on hand for civic functions and the like.

“I’m not sure we should ask them to seek out information,” Shores said of Sanderson’s suggestion that officers pick up church bulletins.

Johnson agreed.

“I don’t think it’s asking too much to call” (for an officer), he said.

Johnson also disagreed that officers are harder to find than they were before Granite Quarry began providing protection. “I definitely see them more than before,” Johnson said.

Adams said his department is adding another sergeant in coming weeks and said that once that happens, there will always be at least two officers on patrol. “Presently, there’s only one at times,” Adams said.

Following a discussion on the matter, even Sanderson seemed to concede that the protection provided by Granite Quarry is better than the protection previously provided when Faith contracted with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department.

Sanderson asked only that officers begin keeping a closer eye on speeders on South Main Street. “I think everything else is working great,” he said.

Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.

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