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Rainbow City give police personnel a raise; contracts dispatching duties with Etowah 911

The Gadsden Times logo The Gadsden Times 8/15/2022 Donna Thornton, The Gadsden Times
a group of people posing for the camera: Rainbow City approved the development of a partnership with MayorCommand to provide the nation’s first cyber-city hall to allow residents to receive information remotely. © Rainbow City Rainbow City approved the development of a partnership with MayorCommand to provide the nation’s first cyber-city hall to allow residents to receive information remotely.

Rainbow City police got a raise this week, as the City Council approved a $1.50 an hour raise for personnel — just one of the public safety issues considered at the council's recent meeting.

Mayor Joe Taylor said he, the city clerk and the interim police chief looked at salaries and found that the city's salaries were behind a little in each position in the department.

The council also approved entering into a contract with Etowah County Communications District 911 to take over dispatching duties for the Rainbow City fire and police departments.

Taylor said the change should shave minutes off response time in emergency calls. Rather than 911 calls being transferred to Rainbow City to dispatch officers or firefighters, 911 dispatchers will directly dispatch emergency personnel.

The city will pay Etowah 911 $315,334 to take over dispatch duties, and Etowah 911 will employ Rainbow City dispatchers who are willing to make the change. Dispatching duties will change over Sept. 2.

Council member Jameson Jenkins, who is an Etowah County deputy, said after a weekend house fire on Hill Avenue, he learned that Southside emergency responders actually got the call about the fire two or three minutes before Rainbow City personnel did. He said he was excited about the improvement this will bring in response times.

"This is a life-saving measure," he said.

"Every minute, a house fire can double," Taylor, a retired Gadsden firefighter, said. Improving response time by even a few minutes will help save property, he said.

The city council also approved buying property from the Alabama Department of Revenue at 56 Horizon Place on Sutton Bridge Road with the plan to locate a tornado shelter there, within quick walking distance of mobile home parks in the area. The cost of the property was $100.

Taylor said the city plans to seek grants for a storm shelter there.

Contact Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at 256-393-3284 or donna.thornton@gadsdentimes.com.

This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: Rainbow City give police personnel a raise; contracts dispatching duties with Etowah 911

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