Public Protection a Focus for South Jacksonville

By Jeremy Coumbes on December 4, 2020 at 10:15am

The Village of South Jacksonville Board of Trustees considered a number of items aimed at public protection last night. 

South Jacksonville Chief of Police Eric Hansell proposal to develop a Chaplaincy Program was approved unanimously by board, with only Trustee Megan Davidson absent from the meeting. 

Hansell says his department will get to work right away on the program, with both a policy and training needing to be outlined first. The department is still in the solicitation process for finding a suitable candidate to take the position as Chaplain. 

Hansell says despite the work needed to fully develop the program, he hopes to have a Chaplain available for first responders in the village, as soon as possible: “I would hope to have it up and running by somewhere relatively maybe June of this coming year. [It gives] me about six months to find somebody and get all the paperwork done for it and get the person trained. What we actually called them was the Emergency Services Chaplaincy Program not just Police Chaplain, so he’s going to help out with the Fire Department, too and anybody else that would need that kind of counseling or just somebody to go talk to.” 

Village President Harry Jennings says he is looking forward to the village having a Chaplain available for the village, and is glad Chief Hansell took the initiative to propose and now implement the program: “Well, it’s something he brought to the Department and, not only to the Department, but it’s going to be you know Village wide, and it’s a really a good program. It’s volunteer, so it’s not costing us anything, and it’s something in the event of an emergency, for those kind of service would be needed, they’ll be there. It’s a really great program.” 

The Board also approved the purchase of cardiac monitors for the Fire Department at a cost of $64,471.40, with the intention of using CARES Act/CURE funding to cover the cost of the equipment. 

The board approved both the action and the payable funds for the cardiac monitors with one caveat in an effort to give the village a financial safety net. Jennings says due to the large sum being paid for the monitors, the Village Trustees felt they should cover all bases just in case: “The only stipulation we added to that was, just in case the CARE funding ends up being a non-approved expense, we do have it in their that it wouldn’t be delivered until June, so we do have that option for where we can cancel that order if they end up being a non-approved expense. If CARE says, hey you know that’s too big an expense or too many of them or whatever the case may be. We don’t think that would happen, but just in case that would happen that way it doesn’t eat up all of our other Fire Department budget.” 

Fire Chief Richard Evans, Jr. says the department may be able to have some assistance from the Morgan County Office of Emergency Management with application process, but that had not been confirmed as of the meeting. 

In other action taken by the board last night, a bid of $3,985 for resurfacing of the police department parking lot from Rouland Construction was approved. Chief Hansell says if the weather holds out, that project could start as easily as Monday. 

The proposed ordinance to lower the speed limit of Labor Drive to 15 miles per hour was also officially approved by the board.