Suwannee Democrat


March 14, 2014

Live Oak police chief measure passes final reading

Live Oak —

It was a full house Tuesday night at the Live Oak City Council meeting for their regular monthly meeting, as the board held the final reading of Ordinance 1353 that could place the police chief position on a ballot to allow voters to decide if the position should be elected.

The second and final reading passed 3-2 with Councilors Keith Mixon and Jacob Grantham voting against. Ordinance 1353 will now go before the mayor for his signature of approval. Should he decide to veto the ordinance, the board would not have time to meet and get a 4-1 vote to override the veto before the May ballot deadline.
Council President Adam Prins began discussion by explaining to the board a small modification that was made to the ordinance since the first reading regarding when the police chief position, if elected, would take effect. 
The ordinance originally stated the newly elected police chief would begin his term in May of 2016. 
“It was discussed it would be the first city-wide election after it could be potentially approved by the electorate in this election if it goes to the ballot, which would be July of 2018,” Prins said. “It now reads the second Tuesday of July in 2018 is when the term would commence.”
Councilor Jacob Grantham asked the board for answers as to why an elected police chief and expressed his concerns. Grantham said he fears the city may lose experienced law enforcement officers if they’re forced to work under someone with no experience.
“With experienced sergeants and officers not wanting to work under an inexperienced chief of police with little to no background, with an elected police chief, the department may be losing valuable employees that know this city better than probably better than anybody in this room,” Grantham stated. “That means less experienced officers may be protecting our streets.”

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