Johnson sworn in as Piedmont Police Chief

Nathan Johnson was sworn in Tuesday as Piedmont’s Police Chief by Mayor Bill Baker. The event was witnessed by the city council, Piedmont police officers., and Johnson’s family. Pictured is Johnson and the Piedmont City Council. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

PIEDMONT – Nathan Johnson was officially sworn in as the Piedmont Police Chief during Tuesday’s Piedmont City Council Meeting.

Johnson has been in law enforcement for over 15 years. He took over the police chief duties on an interim basis back in June. Johnson was promoted to chief back in August.

Joining Johnson and Piedmont Mayor Bill Baker for the swearing-in ceremony was Johnson’s family, Piedmont police officers, and the council members.

“It’s an honor having Nathan fill this position,” Mayor Bill Baker said. “Since coming on board, he has really worked closely with us. He’s in the office every day.

“It’s not about Nathan. It’s about the City of Piedmont. It’s about the citizens. It’s about his department and what he’s trying to do make Piedmont better. I just appreciate what he is doing. I think he’s going to be a great chief. I think he’s got some great ideas. It’s amazing what all he wants to do.”

One thing Baker requested of Johnson is to make time for his family and himself.

“He doesn’t take off a lot,” Baker said. “One of the things he’s going to have to do, and family you’re going to have to help him with this, we’re going to have make him go home occasionally because he wants to stay up here all the time. Nathan, please stay healthy, do your job well, but make time for your family and yourself also.”

Johnson thanked everyone for the support they’ve given him.

“With all that support, I feel that I’ll do a good job,” he said. “I don’t want to be a disappointment.”

“We as a council and as mayor support you also,” Baker said to Johnson later in his ending comments before adjourning the meeting. “We’re here to work with you and I know you’re going to work with us. We’re going to make great things happen for the City of Piedmont.”

Also in his final comments, Baker lobbied the council to make Carl Hinton the full-time city clerk. Hinton replaced former city clerk Michelle Franklin on an interim basis back in August. Franklin, who served the city for over 30 years, announced her retirement back in July. It became effective Oct. 1.

“He’s done an excellent job,” Baker said of Hinton. “I just can’t tell you the new ideas he has researched and brought forward, just things he’s thought of that we need to do. He’s taken the movement and gone in the right direction. I just think he’s doing a great job. I just don’t see delaying the position anymore, if the council feels that way. I asked him if he is interested in accepting this position full-time, and he told me he did. I would like to ask you all to give consideration to this. I told him I was going to bring this up tonight. I know it’s not on the agenda, but we can add it to the agenda for next time (Nov. 2).”

In its work session, the council heard an update on the modifications to a grapple truck/leaf vacuum from Michael Bright of Terrapin Creek Metal Works and Blasting.

With the exception of placing new seals on a cylinder on the grapple attachment, which will be done by Piedmont Hydraulic, Bright expects the modifications to the truck should be completed by the end of the month.

The council also heard from Piedmont Veterans Association and Piedmont Arts Council spokesman Rick Freeman concerning several upcoming events planned for the city, including a cemetery wreath-laying ceremony by the Wreaths Across America organization on Dec. 18, the Dec. 11 Christmas parade, a New Year’s Eve celebration, and the Oct. 30 fall festival.

Concerning next Saturday’s fall festival, Freeman said 30 vendors have committed to be attending the event.

“There’s going to be games, a baking competition, corn hole, a costume contest, a lot of odds and ends. We’ll be pretty busy there,” Freeman said. “We ask all the people to come out and support it. Everybody’s always complaining we never do anything. When we do something, we don’t have that many to come out, so we need to support this.

“I think the festival is going to be fantastic. Afterwards, from 4-6, I understand that’s when they’re going to do the city trick-or-treat. It’s going to be good for young people.”

Regarding plans for the Christmas parade, Freeman asked for the city’s help in promoting it. He said he’s already heard from people in Huntsville and Atlanta who want to take part in it.

“We’re planning on having one of the biggest Christmas parades we’ve ever had this year,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of people already. It doesn’t cost anything. You just come.

“We hope all of this the next few months will be really positive for the city. I want to see our community back the way it used to be. It can if we get a lot of positive things like this going. All it takes is one or two things to get it started. If everybody gets involved, it’ll go.”

During its regular meeting, the council approved minutes from the previous meeting and bills for payment in the amount of $637,384.43.

The council also passed several resolutions, including four grass cuttings at 217 Anniston Avenue, 318 East Ladiga Street, 108 Memorial Drive, and 105 Williams Street.

The fifth resolution passed was a fee schedule for the demolition and removal of residential structures in the corporate limits of the city. The rates passed are $1.75 per square foot for residential structures and $2.00 per square foot for burnt residential structures plus a dump fee. The resolution also states no commercial structures will be removed by the city, and the City of Piedmont reserves the right to refuse any services the resolution pertains.

The last resolution the council passed was an annual $5,000 donation to the Piedmont Veterans Association.

In Johnson’s monthly reports to the council, the Piedmont Police Department had a total of 47 arrests on 84 charges for September, with 15 of those being felony arrests with 24 charges.

Officers issued 36 traffic citations during the month and worked six traffic accidents. They were dispatched on 325 calls for service. Of those calls, 116 resulted in a report being filed. Officers patrolled a total of 11,148 miles for the month.

The public safety dispatch office received 2,212 phone calls, with 739 rescue calls and 45 fire calls dispatched. Court collections for the month September were in the amount of $19,961.

In the abatement report for September, there were 28 total cases with 21 of those being yard cases. There are 21 new cases, with 18 old cases being worked on and nine completed. There is a contract on a structure, and there were three court appearances for the month.

In animal control for September, there were 15 calls for service with two investigations/court cases. A total of 24 animals were picked up with eight taken to shelter and 16 were reclaimed by the owner.

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