Two new police officers set for Calera schools

Two new Calera police officers will soon patrol the city’s schools full-time after the Calera City Council decided Monday night to approve a grant for the Calera Police Department.

The three-year $125,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice COPS in School Program will put a full-time police officer in Calera Elementary School and another in Calera High School.

Calera Police Chief Jim Finn said the grant will help free the city force by designating two officers to spend at least 75 percent of their time in the schools teaching, patrolling and doing other school-related work.

Currently, he said, police officers have to work school duties in with their other city work.

&uot;These officers can adjust (their) schedule to be in or around the schools all the time. Many times the kids in the schools know what is going on as far as crime but the officers don’t,&uot; Finn said. &uot;(The school officer) will know the teachers and kids much more and will do a more efficient job.&uot;

Finn said he has already narrowed the search for candidates for the new positions. He said 67 people applied for the previously tentative jobs and the field is now down to 10 men and women.

Finn said the only expense for the city in the first three years will be to pay for training academy, if needed, and uniforms.

In other police action discussed at the meeting, the council approved an expenditure of about $16,000 for the second phase of the police force’s communications update.

The money will be used to buy communication equipment from AllComm Wireless from Birmingham, who had the lowest bid, to purchase several mobile phones and update the city’s police frequencies and equipment.

The council also voted to purchase an ad for $1,050 in the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce publication. City officials said the ad will help to promote the city of Calera. The ad, they said, will be seen in a seven county area distributed by the chamber in 25,000 magazines, books and pieces of literature