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Decatur police chief soliciting concerns

By Chris Paschenko 340-2442

About 50 residents attended a community meeting Tuesday to meet Decatur's new police chief and the 22 officers, detectives and command staff that accompanied him.

Chief Ken Collier fielded questions about gangs, traffic and other concerns for about an hour and even passed out a questionnaire that would allow residents to deliver their concerns to him anonymously.

"I feel like we've got some good ideas to attack crime," Collier said. "We're going to adjust some things in the department, but I wanted to go around town and get some input."

Tuesday night's meet and greet with the chief and police followed City Councilman Ronny Russell's District 4 meeting at First Baptist Church of Austinville.

Russell updated residents on city projects, such as widening Beltline Road, lighting a walking trail at Austinville Park, and improving intersections on Spring Avenue Southwest and Sims Street.

Decatur Mayor Don Kyle field questions about an ordinance prohibiting people from parking cars on lawns, a measure some residents said they fear and favor.

I'm not advocating a citywide ordinance now," Kyle said.

"We don't have the staff or finances to enforce it on everybody."

On the topic of illegal immigration, Russell said he hopes Decatur will follow Athens' lead and considering
passing a law that would prevent anyone who has a city contract from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

Jimmie McBride said she likes to attend community meetings. It keeps her informed, she said.

"I like to see how the projects are coming along," McBride said. "I was glad to see the chief. I'm going to e-mail him my concerns."

If you missed meeting with the chief and his department, you can catch them at one of the next four community meetings:

? March 29 — Decatur Utilities auditorium, 1002 Central Parkway S.W., 6 p.m., District 3.

? April 3 — Turner-Surles Community Center, 702 Sycamore St. N.W., 7 p.m., District 1.

? April 5 — Decatur Baptist Church, 2527 Danville Road S.W., 6 p.m., District 5.

? April 10 — Central United Methodist Church, 616 Jackson St. S.E., 6 p.m., District 2.

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