GLASGOW – The Glasgow City Council is considering a change in how it handles certain items of city business.
Instead of adopting a large number of ordinances throughout the year, the council may allow the mayor to issue more executive orders.
The issue came up Monday when the council considered an ordinance that called for amending the Glasgow Police Department’s standard operating procedures in one area – internal affairs/citizen complaints.
The ordinance calls for this section of the GPD’s standard operating procedures to be significantly changed.
The ordinance says “... internal affairs investigations may not be necessary if no public complaint is made and matters can be handled in an appropriate disciplinary process.” The ordinance also says the police chief or his/her designee shall contact the city attorney before the suspension of a police officer and an “... investigator shall make a report of facts and submit same through a chain of command to the executive authority for disposition.”
The ordinance says legal counsel will be consulted before the police officer being charged and when allegations are sustained. It continues to say that the mayor and legal counsel are to be notified by the police chief or his/her designee when allegations are made against a police officer.
Councilman Terry Bunnell asked Mayor Harold Armstrong if any consideration had been given to taking care of the business item with an executive order rather than an ordinance.
“This is an action that you as the mayor can handle … (it’s) dealing with internal items,” Bunnell said.
Armstrong said an executive order or ordinance “will get the job done” and that he wanted to bring the issue before the council because he wanted everyone to be aware of what action was taking place.
Bunnell said if the mayor issued an executive order amending the police department’s standard operating procedures, the city would save time and money because an executive order doesn’t have to be published as a legal advertisement nor does it need two readings by the council.
If everyone agreed, the council could dismiss the ordinance and take care of the matter with an executive order, the mayor said.
“I just want everybody to be aware of what we are doing,” Armstrong said.
Bunnell asked City Attorney Danny Basil about handling the business item as an executive order rather than ordinance earlier Monday. Basil researched the matter and said an executive order would be “perfectly appropriate for the kind of thing we are doing here.”
“As (the mayor) said, the purpose for bringing it out this way is so that you all will know what the standards are, because you are responsible for the police department and the fire department and so forth. That’s why he wanted it to be visible,” Basil said. “I think if you want to put it on the agenda for a vote next time, and if you want him to handle it that way, I can write up a motion of some kind to be on the agenda.”
Basil also said he wanted to check with the Kentucky League of Cities to make sure the organization is in agreement and reads the information he found regarding executive orders the same way he does and if it is appropriate to handle some items of city business that way.
Opting to replace some ordinances with executive orders “does change things,” he said.
It will save the city “... a significant amount of money on publication because we’ve spent thousands of dollars (for) publishing ordinances.”
There was also discussion on when the council might be asked to approve an ordinance.
When a document that calls for changes to be made is 10 or more pages, Armstrong said he would like the council to vote on it. But if it was just one or two pages in length, it could be done as an executive order, he said.
Councilman Joe Trigg noted the changes to the police standard operating procedures had already gone before a committee for approval before being presented to the full council.
But Armstrong said he would like executive orders to be presented to the council so it will have a copy of them.
The council will also be allowed to ask questions about items of business detailed in executive orders when they are presented.
Amendments to the police standard operating procedures were approved by the council on first reading Monday. The council will consider an executive order regarding the amendments to the police standard operating procedures at its next meeting.
During the discussion about amending the police standard operating procedures, Trigg asked about tracking police officers’ records when they have been involved in certain incidents and whether the police department would be adopting such a policy addressing that issue.
“In other words, they can leave Glasgow (Police Department) and go to Cave City (Police Department) and they go with a clean slate. Are we introducing something to that effect so that in the event we have a bad apple then it’s not as easy for that apple to go somewhere else?” Trigg asked.
Glasgow Police Chief Jennifer Arbogast was in the audience during the council meeting and answered Trigg’s question.
“Actually, you are right. It used to be that way. It’s not that way any more. The state actually has passed something. Now the DOCJT (Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training) tracks that,” she said.
The police chief said that when a police officer is fired, the police chief sends that personnel information to the DOCJT.
“At that time, their certification is pulled,” she said. “It goes to their police council and they vote on it. That’s what they are doing. They are pulling these officers’ certifications.”
With the police officers’ certifications being pulled, the police officers who were fired can’t go to work for another law enforcement agency in the state without undergoing recertification, she said.
“It’s not like you can go up there and go in as a lateral. You have to go through the whole entire certification again,” Arbogast said.