Helena recognizes police explorers at City Council meeting

Published 2:20 pm Friday, January 26, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

HELENA – The Helena City Council recognized the success of the Helena Police Explorers Program and proclaimed the week of Jan. 22 as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Week during a regularly scheduled city council meeting on Monday, Jan. 22.

The Council began the evening’s session with the recognition of the Helena Police Explorers program’s successful performance at their recent state competition. The competition, which saw Explorers from multiple programs participate, involved the explorers managing a number of law enforcement scenarios where they were tested and scored on their procedure, capability and effectiveness.

“These kids give up a lot of their free time to come and train to see what it’s like to be a police officer and sharpen their skills so that they know when they move forward in life,” Mayor Brian Puckett said. “They already have a bunch of experience that they can lean into—to be first responders for not only our community, but for all the communities around us.”

At that state competition, the students of Helena’s program achieved first place wins in the categories of Burglary in Progress and DUI Traffic Stop, second place finishes in Response to Domestic Violence and Unknown Disturbance and third place in Crime Scene.

“It’s an amazing thing to be able to recognize all of these young adults and all that they’re doing to not only make themselves better, but to make our city better,” Puckett said. “So, I want to say congratulations on behalf of the city for all of your success in the state championship.”

Following their performance at the state competition, the Helena Police Explorers program is now preparing for their involved with the Explorer’s Winterfest competitions that will be held in Gatlinburg, TN this year from Feb. 9-11.

The students from Helena’s Police Explorer’s Program that were recognized at the meeting included:

  •  Landyn Cloud
  •  Rob Morris
  •  Payton Kohler
  •  Eva Barrett
  •  Braden Taylor
  •  Michael Mathers
  •  Ethan Lowery
  •  Jacob Johnson
  •  Greg Powell
  •  Jacoby Gulledge
  •  Charles Singer
  •  Joshua Killion
  •  Jackson Martin


Following the recognition of the Police Explorer’s, the city also issued its proclamation declaring the week of Jan. 22 as CRNA week in Helena. It is a measure that is taken each year in the city that seeks to recognize and thank nurses for their role and tireless work in providing quality healthcare to and for the public.

Afterward, the Council issued a proclamation recognizing longtime civic servant Jack Grey for more than 30 years of leadership on the Helena Planning and Zoning committee.

“Jack Gray has served on the Helena Planning and Zoning Commission with distinction since the early 1990s, first as a board member, then as the presiding officer of the Helena Planning and Zoning Commission for over 30 years,” Puckett said. “(He has also) successfully completed the certified Alabama Planning and Zoning Official Training to enhance his ability to navigate the complex zoning issues, engage with our community, lead with integrity and has set a commendable standard for public service.”

Gray’s time with the city of Helena has been one witness to momentous growth, with the city’s population having more than quadrupled throughout his tenure with Helena’s Planning and Zoning Committee. Councilmember Laura Joseph went on to emphasize that it was Gray’s actions and work within the city that have resulted in the Helena of today and is the reason that many of the city’s current residents elected to move there in the first place.

“(Gray’s) tireless efforts have significantly contributed to the enhancement of the quality of life for the residents of Helena, ultimately earning accolades for the city, including the 2007 Business Week’s ranking of America’s 13th Best Place to Raise Your Kids, Money magazine’s list of Best Places to Live Top 100 in the United States and the Municipal Achievement Award from the Alabama League of Municipalities,” Puckett said.

The Council was quick to assuage concerns related to Gray’s involvement with the city and emphasized that his presence and positive impact will continue for years to come.

“Mr. Gray is not stepping down from the planning and zoning,” Puckett said. “He is there to make sure that we are all tutored very well for many, many years to come, because it is his institutional knowledge that makes our city function.”

In other news, the Helena City Council approved the following:

  •  A resolution affirming transportation plan expenditures for fiscal year 2023
  •  Annexation of 5194 S. Shades Crest Road owned by Kristal and Michael Fotheringham into Helena.
  •  Annexation of 4336 South Shades Crest Road owned by Joseph and Zena Williamson into Helena.
  •  Annexation of 2215 Shiver Drive owned by Kevin Bos into Helena.
  •  Annexation of 7801 Highway 13 owned by Cheryl Fuller into Helena.
  •  Annexation of 3939 Woodhaven Road owned by Woodhaven LLC into Helena.
  •  A Zoning Amendment Change to Article IXXIV Section 3 PRD
  •  Multiple first readings for annexation ordinances of properties into Helena.