At July’s monthly Douglas Town Council meeting, the increasing number of people present at court was addressed. Douglas Police Chief Eric Speight and Court Clerk Carolyn Garrett talked about how it is standing room only at every monthly court session and sometimes a line of people spills out the door.
Chief Speight suggested knocking out a wall between the current meeting room and a room that is currently being used for records storage to increase seating. The mayor and all Council members agreed that overcrowding for court proceedings, which are open to the public, is a definite problem and options will be looked at and discussed at a later date.
Mayor Hill announced that a guest speaker, Portia Shepherd, representing Family Services of North Alabama, would speak to the Council.
She explained their sexual abuse support services (SASS) which include a 24 hour emergency response team now covering the North Alabama area.
"Before, sexual assault victims had to go all the way to Huntsville to receive proper care,” Shepherd said. “We now have eight nurses trained right here in North Alabama."
She stated that Marshall Medical North, Marshall Medical South, and BMC-Dekalb (located in Fort Payne) all have nurses on staff trained to care for rape and all sexual assault victims. The nurses train for five weeks and are required to provide care to a minimum of five sexual assault cases. In addition to the emergency response, other services provided include personal and group services, including counseling. Bilingual services are provided.
Shepherd stressed that if you are a victim of sexual assault, report directly to a hospital for medical attention and request a victim advocate be contacted.
- Chief Speight, Mayor Corey Hill and the Council discussed the possible purchase of a new police vehicle. The discussion was tabled.
- Douglas Fire Department secretary Derrick Whitt reported that the fire department could no longer do controlled burns without being approved by the state.
- The next Council meeting is scheduled for August 20 at 5 p.m.