By A.C. Hall
The White Settlement Police Department received recognition from the Texas Police Chief’s Association for achieving recognized status for the Texas Law Enforcement Recognition Program at the White Settlement City Council meeting last week. The WSPD entered into the program voluntarily and were forced to adhere to a long list of best practices. After twenty months in the program, the department was evaluated and it was determined that they passed, making them just the eightieth passing department out of over two thousand in Texas.
Police Chief Jack Ely and members of his department were on hand to receive the award. The department will have to maintain their adherence to the best practices moving forward, as they will be further evaluated in the future to check if they are maintaining their passing status. Those in the council chambers applauded the department members over their accomplishment.
The police department was not alone in the honoree department, however, as Finance Director Phil Bray informed council that the city’s finance department has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association. The city was one of just 1350 throughout the US and Canada to receive the award. Bray said the city has received this award for over two decades, and that they’re once again in the running to get it for the current budget.
WARNING LIGHTS APPROVED FOR FIRE STATION
Following up on a suggestion made by council member Steve Ott during budget talks earlier this year, the council unanimously approved the purchase and installation of a fire department emergency vehicle warning system for a cost not to exceed $8,182. Fire Chief Brian Thompson presented this item to council, and spoke about an issue the firefighters having when rolling out of the fire station to go on calls.
“Cars are not yielding for an emergency vehicle,” Thompson said.
This has become even more of an issue in recent months with Meadow Park closed and traffic being rerouted down Hanon Drive, sending a much heavier flow of vehicles in front of the station. The warning lights will consist of two 36 x 36 yellow signs, one facing each direction of traffic, that will have flashing yellow lights any time an emergency vehicle is about to emerge from the fire station. The signs can be triggered remotely by individuals in the fire truck or by the dispatcher. The signs have a three-year warranty, an expected five to seven year battery life, and have their own solar panels attached to them.
Thompson informed the council that in his fire budget there is still $10,000 that was going to be used for additional storage at the fire station, but that he felt the warning signs were a higher priority. The council unanimously approved the signs using the money Thompson described to pay for them. The estimated installation is in four weeks.
CENTRAL PARK FIELDS NAMED
With the renovation of Central Park complete, council turned to the Parks and Recreation board for recommendations on what to name some of the new fields and amenities. Those recommendations were Neal Rogers, James Stanford, Henderson, Wayne Burt and BoBo for baseball fields and Holden, Stormy Jones, and Francis Caldwell for Softball fields. There was also a recommendation to name the playground area as James Herring Facility.
Council member Steve Ott mentioned that Caldwell was already honored at City Hall with a room named after her, instead offering up the late WSPD Captain Scott Monier as someone who should be honored with one of the softball field names. Monier lost his life in the line of duty in 2002 when responding to a call.
Other council members agreed with the suggestion to honor Monier by naming one of the softball fields after him. Council was quick to point out that it was in no way meant to diminish Caldwell, but just to spread around as much recognition as possible to those who were important to the city. A motion unanimously passed to accept the recommended names with Monier replacing Caldwell on one of the softball fields.
NEW TASK FORCE CREATED
Also before the council was an interlocal agreement with Westworth Village to create a Criminal Interdiction Task Force. The focus of this task force would be to deal with narcotics along Highway 183, an area that White Settlement police don’t currently have access to.
“A lot of narcotics travel down 183,” Police Chief Jack Ely told the council.
The proposal would be for the departments to work together on the project. Ely stressed that he didn’t just want to arrest those involved with drugs, that he wants to take everything that they have.
“Maybe we can rid some of the dope from getting into our city,” Ely said.
Council member Danny Anderson voiced a concern over this new task force taking WSPD officer’s attention away from White Settlement. Ely assured him that officers that weren’t currently on patrol in White Settlement would man the task force, not those actively patrolling the city at the time.
The interlocal agreement to create the task force passed unanimously.
Several board appointments were made as the council addressed many seats spread across multiple boards. On the Economic Development Corporation, council unanimously put Paul Moore, Ann Smith, and Pat Wirsing into seats. Smith and Wirsing are currently serving on the EDC, with Moore taking over the seat currently held by Brinda Rhodes, who did not reapply.
On the Planning and Zoning board, council unanimously placed David Barton and Judith Smith. Both currently serve on the board. Barton did not reapply to remain, but council voted to leave him in his seat.
Council voted unanimously to leave the Library Board as it currently is.
The council voted unanimously to remain a part of the ONCOR Steering Committee for an annual cost of $1,612. This group consists of over 150 cities and municipalities and fights rate cases against ONCOR on behalf of all member cities.
Council also unanimously approved an agreement with the Tarrant County Tax Office that will see the office continue to assess and collect ad valorem taxes for the City. This will cost around $9,000 annually, which was said to be cheaper than if the city assessed and collected the taxes themselves.