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Guyton Police, citizens trade information in town hall setting
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Guyton Police Capt. Kenny McDonald shows off the camera that’s part of the microphone he clips onto his shirt. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

On the surface, the design of the Guyton Police Department’s town hall meetings is for the police to let citizens know what they’re doing. But it’s also a chance for residents to tell the cops what they may need to know about their neighborhoods.

It’s how the Guyton police found out they may need to watch for speeders on Samuel Smalls Avenue in the evening.

“We still have a lot of traffic problems,” Alexander said. “You work it the best you can.”

Guyton is in line to receive a traffic signal for the intersection of Highways 17 and 119, but the state Department of Transportation’s budget mess means that light may not be coming any time soon.

“The DOT has been speaking with us about some options there,” city Alderman Jeff Lariscy said. “We can do some planning, but the project itself will not happen for a while.”

The state has given tentative approval to intersection improvements, and Lariscy said the city council wants to hold a workshop with DOT representatives about the intersection.

Alexander said there was a residential burglary last week and most such incidents occur during the daytime.

“They are in and out in eight minutes,” he said.

Guyton police have a suspect in the burglary, thanks to information provided by residents, Alexander said.

His department also is working on a disorderly conduct ordinance, one that would allow the city to adjudicate those cases in its own court by its guidelines. Told about increased pedestrian traffic in the Alexander-Brogden streets area, Alexander said that’s a result of summer and school being out.

That also means that since the city has removed several stop signs, officers have to watch for speeders more closely on those streets. That also means making sure pedestrians stay out of the street. Alexander said when some people have complained about how his officers treated them, he has shown them the video taken by his officers and the complaint is proven baseless.

“It’s $700,” Alexander said of the microphone that also holds a camera capable of video and still images. “But if we save one complaint, it’s worth it.”

The department has used it several times on traffic stops, and Alexander said it’s better than the in-car cameras because those only give you one dimension.

“You can see right into the car and capture the driver’s attitude,” he said. “It protects the citizens and it protects the officers. The video doesn’t lie.”

Alexander also said he wants online payments for citations in the near future.

“It doesn’t cost the city a dime,” he said. “Springfield just went to it, and we’d like to do it.”

Guyton also has applied for a grant to put automatic external defibrillators in all fire trucks and possibly police cars.

“When someone has a heart attack, that extra few minutes can make all the difference,” said Capt. Kenny McDonald.