Suwannee Democrat

Suwannee Democrat

December 26, 2013

Police chief position revisited by Live Oak Charter Review Committee

Live Oak —

The Live Oak Charter Review Committee met Monday night, Dec. 23, for a special called meeting to continue their review and establish a recommendation to the Live Oak City Council on changes that need to be made, if any, to the city charter. Here is a brief look at the key item on the agenda.

Police chief position revisited

The committee had previously voted 3-1 to place the police chief position on a ballot and allow the voters to decide if the position should be elected or appointed. Committee member Jeanne d’Eauede was not present for the Dec. 17 meeting. The committee then met again Monday night before making a recommendation to the city council in January.

The board said their main concern is having an accredited police department. d’Eauede said since their concern is accreditation, the position should be appointed, not elected.

“We discussed (at a previous meeting) the importance of having an accredited police department,” d’Eauede said. “It’s very difficult to have an accredited police department when you do not have an accredited person running your department.”

d’Eauede also said history does not favor the city when having an elected police chief.

“We (heard) history from (city attorney Erny) Sellers about having to dissolve the police department before when we went down this path of (an) elected (police chief). It doesn’t guarantee you a person with qualifications. It guarantees you with a person who can get the most votes. That may sound wonderful, except we’re running a police department, not a popularity contest.”

Committee member Stephan Blue asked d’Eauede if the qualifications could be placed in the charter for the person running for the office, like it’s done in Starke, which also has an elected police chief.

“You can’t dictate in an election who’s elected,” she said. 

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