Mexico Beach Council Talks Public Safety Changes - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Mexico Beach Council Talks Public Safety Changes

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Mexico Beach, Fla -

Less than a month after a new chief was sworn in to head up the Mexico Beach Police Department, the city council discusses an ordinance that would alter the chief's role in the Department of Public Safety.

When asked about his role as the Mexico Beach Police Chief Glenn Norris says he thinks he's helped renew a sense of confidence among residents and officers. "They have a positive attitude, they're out on patrol and we're not going to look at the past, we're moving forward." Chief Norris says.

This in the aftermath of a two thousand page internal investigation that led to the firing of one officer. "We went through some tough times and we took some body blows and we've recovered and we've held steadfast and what we're doing is in the best interest of our community and our citizens." Mayor Al Cathey says.

At Wednesday's public workshop the city administrator proposed additional changes to the Department of Public Safety. City ordinances and resolutions currently call for one chief. He or she is entrusted with overseeing three divisions, police, fire, and the emergency services unit.

"The smaller the town, believe it or not, the harder it is to make that work." Cathey says ordinance 597 would help to ease the burden by creating three separate positions, a police chief, a fire chief, and an emergency services coordinator.

Chief Norris told the council he's like to dedicate all his time to the police department. Councilwoman Tonya Castro had the most to say during the meeting. She told News 13 she prefers to review the ordinance in detail before commenting on the proposed changes.

But Cathey says "I think this is going to work much better, and i think it's going to get the support of the council."

The Mayor also says this ordinance would not affect the current budget because the fire chief is a volunteer position and the emergency services coordinator is already factored in.

The first reading of the ordinance will be at the January 15th City Council meeting at the Mexico Beach Civic Center.