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Police officers will now carry standard weapons

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MINER -- Miner's police officers will now carry standardized weapons issued by the city.

Board members approved the purchase of three .40 caliber model 22 Glock semi-automatic pistols with night sights at an estimated cost of about $450 each during the regular Miner Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday along with the new policy of issuing weapons to officers.

Miner's police officers previously were required to purchase their own weapons. In some cases, these personal weapons failed to work on the firing range, "and that's a serious issue," said Capt. Darrin Skinner of the Miner Police Department.

A payroll deduction plan that was formerly in place and tied up some of the city's money will no longer be needed.

Skinner said most agencies in the area do issue weapons to their officers. With a standardized weapon, the department will "be able to train everybody on the same weapon," he said.

By using this particular model as the department's standard weapon, Miner's officers will be able to share ammunition with each other and other area law enforcement agencies such as the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Sikeston Department of Public Safety.

The city-issued weapons should also "alleviate some of our liability issues," Skinner said.

During the quarterly weapon qualifications for officers, the weapons will be disassembled and checked to keep them in top shape. "I would say it would take about 10 years to wear these guns out," Skinner said.

Skinner said he will research policies for maintenance, loss and return of the weapons upon leaving the department before issuing the weapons.

In other business during Tuesday's meeting:

* Miner has adopted Scott County's Local Emergency Operation Plan as their own as recommended by James Buckley, emergency management coordinator for the city.

The plan includes "everything you need to know" to properly respond to disasters, according to Buckley.

Buckley also distributed packets to city officials which outline their duties in the event of an emergency.

The city still needs to appoint a public information officer, Buckley noted.

As the manual is lengthy, Mayor Mitch Thompson suggested they schedule some work sessions after the first of the year to go over the plan.

Buckley also suggested the city purchase a 16-foot trailer to equip with medical supplies and other essentials in the event of a local disaster, noting that Miner can not be accessed from Sikeston without crossing a bridge. In the event of a major earthquake, those bridges would fail leaving Miner on its own for at least 72 hours, Buckley said.

"You have to spend money to get prepared," he said. "Procrastination is the worst thing for preparedness."

* An ordinance was adopted by the Board regulating temporary signs in the railroad easements along the north side of Malone Avenue leased by the city for beautification purposes.

Signs not complying with the ordinance may be removed and destroyed by the city without notice.

Alderman Justin Medley said he took "a simple approach" in coming up with an ordinance to control signage "so it looks a little presentable when people come to town."

He explained that because people think it is public property, they think they can put signs up there and just leave them.

The ordinance also prohibits duplicate signs within 100 feet of each other.

As permanent signs require a building permit to erect, the ordinance only addresses temporary signage.

Under the ordinance, temporary signs must be removed within 48 hours of the end of the event they are promoting.

* Winter fire school was approved for four members of the city's fire department.

The cost for the two-day course, which is being offered in Columbia Feb. 3-5, is $110 per person, according to Randy Baker, Miner's fire division chief.

* Richard Evans is retiring after 16 years with the city's public works department, according to Thompson.

Thompson presented Evans with a plaque in recognition of his service to the city.