MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — An ad-hoc committee met for the first time Tuesday to discuss withdrawing city police and fire services from the current police jurisdiction that lies outside of Mobile’s city limits.
The proposal was introduced by Councilman Joel Daves last month. He repeated his message at Tuesday’s meeting: “We have three options. The best, which is annexation. The worst, which is doing nothing, and something in the middle.”
As it stands, residents in a jurisdiction that extends three miles from the city limits receive city police and fire protection without having to pay the full taxes to support that protection. However, the businesses near those residences have been annexed in, so those residents do still end up paying sales taxes that support the city.
Council had previously shot down the move to annex some parts of West Mobile into the city. But the topic of annexation was brought up by Public Safety Director James Barber, Mayor Sandy Stimpson, and several others – as the best way to make sure everyone got the proper first responder protection.
Barber stated at the meeting there are currently not enough police officers to cover the 200,000 people in Mobile in addition to the 70,000 people that live in the jurisdiction outside of the city limits. Forty-four currently serve that outskirt area. However, Barker says if they brought those 44 officers back in, they would hit those recommended coverage numbers.
Multiple people who live outside the city limits spoke at the meeting, including Ann Davis.
“I don’t think they should be pulled into the city, if the city needs more, hire them,” she said. “Yes, they need them? Get them, but don’t take them away from those that need them as well.”
Officials say this is the first of several committee meetings that will be held on this. No action was taken. We will let you know when the next one is scheduled.