More officers, digital signs could be funded for Pelham police

The Pelham Police Department is looking to purchase an electronic speed sign similar to this one to help curb speeding in the city. (Contributed)

The Pelham Police Department is looking to purchase an electronic speed sign similar to this one to help curb speeding in the city. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham Police Department could get additional officers, Chevrolet Tahoe police cruisers and new digital signs if the City Council approves funding for the upgrades in the city’s 2014 budget.

During an about four-hour work session on Oct. 15, City Council members met with Pelham department heads to discuss possible funding for capital improvements during the city’s upcoming fiscal year.

While talking with Pelham Police Chief Tommy Thomas, City Council President Rick Hayes said the council had tentatively included funding for four additional police officers.

The proposed police budget also tentatively included funding for new Tahoe police cruisers, two portable electronic signs and a portable electronic speed sign.

“This would get additional officers where we need them,” Hayes said of the proposed budget.

During an early October work session, Thomas said he was in “desperate” need of four more officers to help handle increased call volume, and to ensure each school in the city has a dedicated school resource officer.

Thomas said the two electronic signs will help to direct traffic during concerts at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre and other large events in the city. The electronic speed sign will help to curb speeding in some parts of the city, Thomas said.

“We feel (the electronic signs) make our job easier and safer, especially with the Amphitheatre,” Thomas said. “About 20 years ago, we actually had an officer hit and injured pretty bad at the Amphitheatre.”

Thomas requested five new Tahoe SUV police cruisers to replace high-mileage Ford Crown Victoria cruisers, which are no longer produced.

Hayes said the council will continue to review the proposed budget numbers before voting on the matter during an upcoming meeting. The council’s next two meetings are scheduled for Oct. 21 and Nov. 4.