PIEDMONT – Piedmont Police Chief Nathan Johnson made a special presentation to several officers and a community member Tuesday evening during the Piedmont City Council’s work session.
Johnson presented Sergeant James Michael DeVoe Jr. and Officer Cody Quinn life-saving awards for an unexpected cardiac arrest on a traffic stop on April 28. Johnson also presented life-saving awards to officers Joshua Parker, Solomon Doss and Stephen Curvin for a house fire rescue on Aug. 13.
Johnson’s final presentation, a community appreciation award, went to Tiffany Beal.
“Tonight as I stand before the council, I have a lot of pride in my heart,” Johnson said. “I have a lot of pride in our department. I have a lot of pride in our city, our community, and these officers standing behind me and the officers they represent.
“How do we do our job in law enforcement? Every day we put our uniform on and we prepare and we’re ready to face anything that is thrown at us during that day, no matter how dangerous it may be. We do our job with integrity, honor, dedication, professionalism. That’s how people generally view the police is through those terms. I will also tell you we do our job through kindness, compassion, and we care. Why do we do this job? We do this job for the love of people. We love the people in our community. Some of our officers have shown that very recently.”
As referenced by Johnson, on April 28 DeVoe made a traffic stop on a vehicle driving slower than the posted speed limit and swerving in the roadway. He made contact with the driver, Belva Evans. While he was speaking to her, Quinn shortly arrived on scene to assist him.
While conducting an investigation on the traffic stop, Evans went unconscious and she aspirated. The officers evaluated her and determined she did not have a pulse. She was turning blue, and they radioed medics for assistance. They started CPR and ultimately were able to get a pulse back on Evans.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that if that traffic stop wouldn’t have happened, Ms. Evans wouldn’t be here with us today,” Johnson said. “I’m going to be forever grateful of these two officers for what they did that night and what they did for a member of our community. They directly made a difference in her life and also her family members.”
Johnson’s second presentation recognized Parker, Doss and Curvin.
On Aug. 13, Jacksonville State University Officer Curvin – a Piedmont resident – was off duty at home. He awoke to a neighboring home on fire. Curvin made a call to 911 to report the fire, then ran to the home and heard someone yelling for help inside. Curvin made entry into the home and was immediately faced with heavy smoke and fire.
Curvin was joined by officers Parker and Doss of the Piedmont Police Department, who arrived on scene within minutes of the call being dispatched. The officers entered the structure and were able to locate the trapped victim, Ms. Carol Close. They managed to pull her from the burning home despite the threat to their own safety.
Close was transported to the hospital for treatment and survived.
“Because of the life-saving actions of these officers, they were able to preserve the life of Ms. Close,” Johnson said. “For those selfless acts, I’ll forever be grateful of these officers and what they did for a member of our community.”
Piedmont Fire Chief Mike Ledbetter also commended the officers for their bravery.
“I want to say that the citizens of Piedmont should be very proud of their first responders,” Ledbetter said. “I responded to the fire that night and I arrived just seconds after you pulled Ms. Close from the house. I want you to know that without a doubt had you not done what you done she would not be here today. You only had seconds to do what you done and to get out.
“During the investigation, I spoke to her in the hospital. She’s still undergoing treatment, but she is going to be OK. It’s all because of what you officers done that night. I cannot tell you what a relief it was responding to hear on the radio the victim had been pulled from the house.”
Johnson concluded his presentations with a plaque recognizing Beal for what he said was for “creating a symbol of pride within our department.”
“On behalf of the Piedmont Police Department and myself, I thank her for that symbol she put within our department – not only for us, but for us to share with the community,” Johnson said. “I’m presenting Tiffany Beal with a community appreciation award in recognition of your dedication, hard work and skillful talents. You created a symbol of pride within our department that is gratefully appreciated. Thank you for all you have done for the Piedmont Police Department.”
Following Johnson’s presentations, District 3 representative Jubal Feazell presented officers Curvin, Doss and Parker a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the citizens in District 3.
“Because of your selfless efforts, I would like to personally thank you on behalf of District 3 and the City of Piedmont,” Feazell said. “Your exceptional professionalism, unrelenting perseverance and loyal devotion to duty reflect great credit upon yourselves and are in keeping with the high standards of the City of Piedmont.”
The council also heard a presentation during its work session from Kemp and Associate representatives Brandy Faulkner and Gail Kemp detailing the city’s recent audit.
“Overall it was a good audit,” Faulkner said. “Every year we talk about adjusting entries and what we have to adjust on the books. That’s been improving every year. Your accounting staff is getting more proficient. That’s always a good thing.”
In the regular meeting, the council approved minutes from the previous meeting as were bills for payment totaling $818,451.62. They also agreed to purchase a John Deere Sidearm Tractor for $86,810.75 out of savings, and put on hold a new rescue squad contract.
“I think we’re trying to find out the direction the county is going to go in and what other cities might be doing. I don’t think we have a clear picture of that yet,” Mayor Bill Baker said of the contract. “I will tell you we talked with our city attorney (Tuesday). He suggested we not change anything at this point and continue with our old contract until October, when some decisions will be made by the county on what the big picture is going to look like.
“We’ll certainly keep everything going as is. We’ll just wait until the 20th of October and see what the bigger picture looks like.”
In Johnson’s police report for the month of August, the department had a total of 66 arrests on 101 charges. There were 73 misdemeanor charges and 28 felony charges. Officers issued 46 traffic citations and worked six traffic accidents. They were dispatched on 346 calls for service, with 114 of those resulting in a report being filed. Officers patrolled a total of 10,578 miles during the month.
The dispatch office received 2,108 phone calls. They dispatched 426 rescue calls, 48 Piedmont fire calls and seven after hour utility calls.
Total court collections were $16,297.87, with $951.30 retained for the city.
In animal control for August, there were 11 calls for service with 13 animals picked up. One was taken to the shelter and 12 were reclaimed by their owners.
In Ledbetter’s fire report for August, there were five structure fires, one vehicle fire and two woods fires. There were seven vehicle accidents, 13 ambulance assists, one hazardous materials call, eight calls for service and one false alarm.
The firemen attended an active shooter training at Piedmont Middle School and hosted an ASHER class (active shooter hostile environment response) involving 11 agencies (9 fire departments, 1 police department and 1 school system).
The department opened two fire investigations and hosted a softball tournament benefitting Children’s Hospital. Eleven departments attended the tournament.
The fire department also presented a fire safety for senior citizens class at Extended Hand Church.
The next council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 4.