Palmer answers Pelham’s questions at Coffee with the Chief

PELHAM – A handful of Pelham community members took a seat at Kai’s Koffee for the Pelham Police Department’s Coffee with the Chief at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Police Chief Larry Palmer said the purpose of the event was to answer residents’ questions and address concerns.

“We’re wanting to bridge the gap between us and the community,” Palmer said. “We wanted to get out and meet people in the community.”

During Coffee with the Chief, Palmer discussed various local and national topics, including Pelham’s new drug prevention team, the mass shooting in Las Vegas and traffic issues in the city.

According to Palmer, one of the PPD’s main concerns are drug overdoses in the city. The new prevention group, started by Compact 2020, is going “outside the box” to combat substance abuse, Palmer said.

Because of the shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, Palmer said the PPD has had to reassess how they monitor certain areas in Pelham.

“The shooting in Las Vegas affected a group known as Live Nation, who owned the venue (where the shooting took place),” Palmer said. “Live Nation also owns our amphitheater in Pelham. We’ve already changed our plans for the venue. Every time something like this happens, we learn a lesson.”

Many residents expressed concerns about heavy traffic on the interstates during morning and afternoon rush hours.

“Traffic coming from the west, east and south goes through Pelham to go north,” Palmer said. “I think that our city council works with the state and county to get improvements.”

Palmer also explained how traffic signals in Pelham are engineered to spot and move cars through the city in groups.

“We’re continuing to work on our traffic signals,” Palmer said.

Kai’s Koffee owner Kai Smith said she was concerned about potential safety issues caused by the amount of foot traffic and cyclists traveling along U.S. 31, especially near her business.

“We really don’t know where they’re coming from,” Smith said.

Palmer explained that the high amount of pedestrians and cyclists is mostly harmless, and is likely caused by the high concentration of restaurants in the area.

“We’re continuing to keep an eye on it,” Palmer said. “If we have a reason to inquire about who they are or what they’re doing, we do. Otherwise, we just monitor it.”

He also introduced the PPD Community Relations Coordinator Ainsley Allison, who took the position in June.

“Ainsley takes care of all our social media and she’s in charge of our special events,” Palmer said. “We’re involved with several different charities, and she also helps with that.”

When asked by a resident, Palmer said the PPD is still offering firearms training classes to the public.

“We will continue to hold firearms training for as long as someone requests it,” Palmer said. “It’s a great class, and we’ve had great comments about it.”

Palmer also went over the proper procedures for those who have concealed carry permits, and encouraged anyone who has a firearm in their vehicle to immediately notify the officer and wait for further instructions.

In the future, Palmer said the PPD plans to host similar meetings once a quarter, and thanked everyone who attended.

“We’re so blessed to have the community we do,” Palmer said.