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Semmes Mayor Brandon Van Hook said the city’s resources must be prioritized for those living in the city limits. (Call News file photo)
By ARTHUR L. MACK
SEMMES — The Semmes City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to roll back the city’s police jurisdiction to a half mile beyond its city limits.
The new police jurisdiction will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, and reduce the one which currently spreads 1½ miles past the city limits.
Semmes joins Saraland in pulling back its police jurisdiction. Other small cities, such as Citronelle, are also looking at pulling back their police jurisdictions to focus on serving residents in the city limits and reducing costs.
“We’re investing too much money outside of our corporate limits,” Semmes Mayor Brandon Van Hook said. “It’s time we took most of our money and invest it right here in Semmes. I understand why Citronelle has looked into it; I understand why Saraland has done it.”
The so-called Chris Elliott bill, which passed the Alabama Legislature two years ago, limited police enforcement and noise and trash ordinances outside of the city limits.
“Part of the goal was to shrink the police jurisdiction anyway,” Van Hook said. “I think you’ll see more smaller municipalities down the road joining in.”
Semmes public works director Jason Franklin said cutting the police jurisdiction will be more beneficial to citizens living inside the city limits.
“We don’t feel that spreading out our city services a mile and a half outside our city limits is the best use of our manpower,” he said. “We feel if we retract to half a mile, we will be able to provide better and more services and reduce response time for public safety.”
Franklin said little revenue will be lost by pulling back the police jurisdiction to a net loss of 12 square miles and added Mobile County will take over some of the services Semmes will no longer offer those areas.