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Murphysboro police chief secures grant to fund cameras

By Chanda Green
Contributing Writer
updated: 6/20/2018 12:21 PM

Mayor Will Stephens recently told Murphysboro City Council members that Police Chief Chad Roberts had received $34,500 in grant money to purchase a camera for each car and officer on the force. Installation will cost $4050.

The council congratulated Chief Roberts on his work to secure the grant and to negotiate with the vendor for the price of the cameras, $34,499.95.

"I talked the vendor down from his original estimate of $44,000," Roberts said. The council voted to approve the grant, the purchase of the cameras and to pay Bill Myers, a local technician, for installation.

"We'll finally have cars with cameras," Chief Roberts said. "Not having them has cost us cases in court and become a liability issue. The video will also help us win prosecutions."

City agrees to help Senior Citizens Center

Stephens also passed out copies of a new general agreement between the city and the Senior Citizens Center that would give the center an additional $2,500 annually to help offset the cost of insurance. The agreement also states that any repairs or maintenance costing more than $1,000 would have to be approved by the city. The council voted unanimously to approve the agreement.

The city also awarded a bid to repair the center's air conditioner from Jason Spears for $8,500. Once that work is done, said Alderman Gary McComb, the roof can be repaired.

City advertises for new fire chief

The Murphysboro council approved national advertising for a new fire chief. Steve Swafford, the current chief, has announced that he will retire at the end of the year.

Personnel Committee Chairman Barbara Hughes said that she wanted to be proactive in starting the search for Fire Chief Swafford's replacement and that an ad for the position had been published nationally.

"We have received nine applications so far," Hughes told the council. "Two members of the department have expressed interest and will be a part of the interview process."

Mayor Will Stephens said that he will form a committee to conduct the interviews and that he hopes to hire a new chief by October.

Swafford was hired as a firefighter in 1991, as a full-time employee of the fire department in 1993 and was appointed interim chief in 2010. He was named chief in May 2011.

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