After months of tabling a vote on the Roswell Police Department’s request for its own attorney, City Council held a workshop Thursday to discuss the reservations councilors may have had.
In August, Chief Al Solis and Deputy Chief Brad McFadin proposed the creation of a police attorney position, which would provide the department with immediate access to legal advice and be “solely responsible for handling Police Department prosecutions, defense and legal counsel in a timely, aggressive and efficient manner.”
At the workshop, McFadin said the position was part of the department’s effort to upgrade itself. “We just want to modernize our department,” he said. “We’re trying to catch up with other communities.”
During the council’s workshop, discussion on the issue lasted more than an hour and a half.
“We’ve all been banging our heads for months,” said Mayor Del Jurney. “We can’t keep not addressing this. I just want us to get to a point where we can put it on the agenda and vote on it.”
Some councilors suggested that instead of creating a new position, the responsibilities could be merged with those of City Attorney Barbara Patterson or handled by an employee of her firm.
Patterson explained that when the city went from having a full-time, in-house attorney to putting the contract for legal services out to bid.
Along with Patterson, there was another attorney handling legal services for the city, but after that attorney discontinued their contract, Patterson was given the contract and its workload.
Mayor Del Jurney said that workload has grown greatly in recent years and will continue to do so, requiring the full attention of Patterson and her staff.
The council eventually agreed to reconsider the position as a city prosecutor, rather than as another attorney. The council’s finance committee will meet Wednesday to decide if the position would be in-house or contracted.
It also will finalize the recommendation for a vote in time for the council’s monthly meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday.