St. Clair News Aegis (Pell City, AL)


January 7, 2011

Extra Argo P.D. after series of burglaries

Argo —  A series of smash-and-grab incidents during the holiday season prompted Argo Mayor Paul Jennings to temporarily hire an extra patrol officer to protect local businesses.

“It wasn’t just here, but we had a lot of, I don’t want to call them burglaries, but it was kind of like a snatch-and-go thing that was going on around here,” Jennings explained to the city council Monday evening.

Police Chief James Downing said the five or six incidents that occurred saw businesses with doors smashed in and items quickly taken — one businesses had a cash register stolen, while catalytic converters were taken from another.

Former Argo police officer Billy Quilliams was hired for approximately two weeks to patrol the downtown business area.

“One thing we do not need is any of our businesses hurt to the point they want to move,” Jennings said.

Downing mentioned that Quilliams issued a few DUI citations, as well as stopped a crime in progress.

Councilman Steve Medori commended the police department on “a very impressive police presence at a critical time,” citing a 4 a.m. trip to I-59 during which he saw two police vehicles, with alert and on-the-job officers protecting the community.

In other actions:

* The council recognized Birmingham Building Trades Towers, Inc., who recently donated $1,000 to the Argo Fire Department.  Jennings said the group has donated funds to the fire department for years, and the funds were greatly appreciated.

* Two bids were opened for the sale of Argo’s 2001 E350 Wheelcoach ambulance. The winning bid was for $35,000 from the Concord Fire District, based out of Bessemer, Ala., whose bid was unanimously accepted by the council. The other bid was for $30,000 from the Palmerdale Fire District.

* Betty Bradley shared that the Argo Food Bank served 106 families during the holiday period, and received a $500 grant secured by Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville.

* A total of $11,386 was received during the holiday season to benefit the Christmas for Kids campaign. It took $5,454 to purchase toys for the children, and next year’s committee will start their efforts with around $13,000 already in the bank.

* The Argo City Hall will be closed all day April 7 and the morning of April 8 due to a training session for the court clerks. The office will re-open upon their return from the class on April 8, which takes place in Birmingham.

* Jennings asked the council for consent to pay back a $50,000 loan recently taken out to cover a cash shortfall until property tax revenues start coming in. Jennings said he felt it was unwise to pay more interest than necessary, and he was confident that the city could afford to pay back the loan due to the money that has recently been taken in, as well as the anticipation of funds coming at the end of the month.

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