DENMARK – A resident complained that Denmark police are focusing too much on writing traffic tickets and not enough on serious crimes during Denmark City Council's October meeting.

“For the last three years, we have had three murders in Denmark. I want to know why the police are writing speeding tickets instead … ,” citizen Richard Freeman said during the public comments portion of the meeting.

Freeman said Denmark police are often on Voorhees Road writing speeding tickets for college students that neither they nor their parents can afford instead of focusing on other crimes in the area. He noted that there is a homeless woman on the streets of the city that he feels the city should be assisting. In previous meetings, the council discussed the homeless woman and solutions to get some assistance for her.

Mayor Gerald Wright said the council would not comment on the issues raised by Freeman during the meeting, but would take his concerns under advisement and possibly address them in a future meeting.

Police Chief Leroy Grimes declined to comment on Freeman’s comments following the meeting, but he did note in his monthly report to council that the police department opened 26 new cases last month, including simple assault, kidnapping, burglary, domestic violence, shoplifting, vandalism of property, disorderly conduct, a weapons law violation, a missing person, driving under suspension, a traffic collision and more.

Grimes added that Lt. Laquan and Cpl. Woodrow Jones Jr. attended a driver training class at the Bamberg County Airport, along with officers of the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition, the police chief announced the police department and the city will distribute candy to children at the Jim Harrison Park Gazebo from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31, for Halloween. Area children are invited, he said.

Grimes said his officers will also be assisting with the Voorhees College Homecoming Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11.

City Administrator Heyward Robinson reported Denmark's water and sewer department is assisting the engineers with the Regional Medical Center's new Freestanding Emergency Department for Bamberg and Barnwell Counties to ensure that water and sewer will be available when construction of the facility is completed.

He, along with Cedric Hudson and Tim Freeman of the water and sewer department, met with Hussey, Gay and Bell Engineering Inc. pertaining to the city providing the water and sewer services, the administrator said.

Robinson said the awarding of the construction bid will be in January 2018, with construction scheduled to begin in February 2018. The facility is scheduled to be completed in August 2018, he said.

“We plan to have the water and sewer there by about the same time the building will be completed,” the administrator said.

Both Robinson and Hudson reported Denmark's drinking water is safe and presented copies of the Annual Drinking Water Quality Reports for the past two years indicating the water system had not been cited for any violations by the Environmental Protection Agency during that period.

Also, Robinson said bids on the HVAC system for the new Denmark City Hall will be opened at 2 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 19, and construction bids on the new city hall will be opened at 3 p.m. the same day.

In other business, the mayor noted, “In the very near future, we anticipate excitement in Denmark over the following three things: accepting bids on city hall, the ER facility on Highway 70 and the half a million dollars we have been approved for to expand the streetscape project in downtown.”

“Hopefully, they will be a catalyst for additional things in Denmark,” Wright added.

Councilwoman Bonnie Love noted that the new Family Health Centers Inc. facility on U.S. 321 in Denmark will be opening soon as well.

Wright said the city is fortunate to have those facilities, noting that Denmark is becoming a center for health in the area.

Contact the writer: rbaxley37@gmail.com.

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