Council debates public safety ordinances - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council debates public safety ordinances

(File photo) (File photo)

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Memphis City Council member says your quality of life is at stake after a committee passed of a series of public safety laws Tuesday.

The committee passed 11 out of 12 public safety ordinances that were presented to it, but not without resistance.

Memphis City Attorney Elbert Jefferson lobbied the committee to pass the series of public safety ordinances, which ranged from penalties for non-emergency 911 calls, to prohibiting school bus drivers from using cell phones while transporting children, to banning open alcohol containers in vehicles.

During the discussion, council member Harold Collins said some of the ordinances impact would quality of life, including the single ordinance that failed, which would have punished vehicle owners who allow unlicensed drivers behind the wheel.

"Do you write a ticket for teaching your son, your daughter how to drive, or do you pursue a burglar, a kidnapper or an armed robber?" Collins asked.
 
While Collins worries the ordinances will stretch an already understaffed police force, Police Director Larry Godwin disagreed.
 
"They're laws we're going to enforce anyway," Godwin said.
 
Godwin added that money collected from the tickets will now come to the city instead of the state.

Jefferson said Memphis has no choice - the state no longer enforces the ordinances, so tickets could be dismissed.

The full City Council must now approve the 11 approved ordinances, which would go into effect on July 1.


Ordinances discussed during Tuesday's meeting:

PUBLIC SAFETY & HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE

1. Resolution amending the FY09 Operating Budget by accepting and appropriating grant funds in the amount of $1,108,400.00 from the Department of Homeland Security for the Division of Fire Services

2. Resolution amending the FY09 Operating Budget by accepting and appropriating grant funds in the amount of $730,857.00 from the University of Memphis for FY08 Byrne Congressional Mandated Award – Operation Safe Community: Coordinator Law Enforcement Initiatives

3. Resolution amending the FY09 Operating Budget by accepting and appropriating grant funds in the amount of $1,148,400.00 from the State of Tennessee for the In-Service Training Program for training of 1,914 commissioned officers

4. An Ordinance to amend Chapter 21, Article III of the Code of Ordinances so as to establish an open container law

5. An Ordinance to amend Chapter 21, Article III of the Code of Ordinances so as to prohibit the use of off-highway motor vehicles on highway

6. An Ordinance to amend Chapter 21, Article III of the Code of Ordinances so as to establish a penalty for offenses by persons owning or controlling vehicles (FAILED)

7. An Ordinance to amend Chapter 21, Article I of the Code of Ordinances so as to establish a penalty for transporting minors in the bed of trucks

8. An Ordinance to amend Chapter 28 Article VI of the Code of Ordinances so as to establish a penalty for non-emergency 911 calls

9. An Ordinance to amend Chapter 21, Article III of the Code of Ordinances so as to prohibit school bus drivers from using mobile telephones while transporting children

10. An Ordinance to amend Chapter 21, Article III of the Code of Ordinances so as to require motor vehicles to give three feet clearance when passing bicycles

11. An Ordinance to amend Chapter 21, Article III of the Code of Ordinances so as to establish a penalty for the operation low speed vehicles on city streets

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