DPD sets commitment or reimbursement standard

The Demopolis City Council passed a resolution Thursday night that will help guarantee the police department a return on its investment.

“Demopolis has always been a training ground for police officers coming through to get their training and go off to other agencies,” Demopolis Police Department Chief Tommie Reese told the council before presenting to it the proposed Resolution 2013-07. “I have proposed a resolution to you that, if we fund an officer’s training, we’d be able to get the money back from the officer.”

The resolution, which passed unanimously, will allow the police department to recoup 100 percent of cost if it puts an officer through specialized training and that officer subsequently leaves within the first year following the investment. Should the officer leave within the second year, he or she would be responsible for reimbursing the city for 75 percent of the cost of the training. If the officer leaves during the third year, he would be required to reimburse the city for 25 percent of cost.

Before proposing the resolution, Reese sought legal precedent, finding it in the form of Gordon vs. City of Oakland, a 2010 federal case that validates the police department’s stance.

Reese said that officers who undergo specialized training including S.W.A.T. team, K-9, School Resource Officer and firearms would be held to a standard of commitment or reimbursement.

“At least if a person leaves, we’ll be able to get something back for the city,” Reese said.

While the resolution is now in effect for the police department, the measure may also pave the way for the city to incorporate similar policies for other municipal divisions such as the fire and public works departments.

“Chief Reese, even though I know you’re bringing this to us, there is no reason that we could not make this applicable to all city departments,” Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson said. “We don’t want to stand in the way of somebody advancing their career, but we don’t want to just be a revolving door either. It may sound a little punitive at first blush, but from a practical standpoint, it’s really not.”