The Daily Tribune News, daily-tribune.com
BYLINE: Jason Lowrey
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Kingston Interim Police Chief Clay Patterson has made numerous strides in reorganizing the Kingston police department in an effort to prepare it for future expansion. In a monthly update during the city council's Monday night meeting, Patterson detailed the advances he had made in organizing the department's evidence locker and warrant archive.
The Bartow County Sheriff's Office had cleaned out the evidence locker, which included taking all the material into custody so it could be sorted out and identified, as there were no records stating where the evidence had come from or what cases it pertained to. After the sorting, Patterson was called in to take it back to Kingston.
"We still don't know where half of it came from, or what cases they're attached to," Patterson said. "I spoke to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, they're aware of the situation and we're up to standards now.
"It's been secured. Since the moment I've brought it back nobody other than me has been in that room ..."
Patterson also was forced to sort through the department's warrants, as there were a number of warrants that could not be identified as active or inactive. The oldest warrant he found dated to 2001. If someone was arrested on one of the warrants registered as active, but had actually been paid out, Kingston could be sued. Patterson is now working with the state to identify the warrants and remove any liability from the city.
In addition, there was no inventory system for police gear.
"I cannot find one record of anything documented and that's a high-liability area. I just wanted you all to know that I'm making progress; a complete inventory of the department," Patterson said.
Patterson will start inventorying firearms and ammunition before moving on to department-issued items such as uniforms, flashlights and boots. Without an inventory list, the city could not be compensated for the equipment's loss in the case of an accident, such as a fire.
Council members Chuck Wise and Louise Howell thanked Patterson for his hard work.
The council heard the financial report from City Clerk Michele Jones, who said the city had $56,747.59 in the water fund; $80,790.47 in the first safety fund and $27,998.14 in the general fund.
A measure to sell the city's garbage truck was passed, with the city accepting a $70,000 offer. While the city council has yet to decide where that money will go, council members expressed an interest in splitting the money between the general fund, the reserve fund and possibly Special Local Sales Tax Option fund.
Other city council business conducted was:
* hearing a report from Jones about continuing to run an advertisement for a permanent police chief;
* debating whether to capitalize or expense the city's water meters;
* discussing reported problems with garbage collection;
* tabling a motion to set the city's millage rate; and
* the mayor announcing that contracted workers who install the city's water meters will now work on an as-needed basis.
The Kingston City Council's next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 6, at 7 p.m. at city hall.
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