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F-N city police agree to protect 2 grade schools


Two police officers from Fleming- Neon are serving as resource officers at Martha Jane Potter Elementary School at Kona and Fleming-Neon Elementary School.

At this week’s August meeting of the Fleming-Neon City Council, Police Chief Mike Dingus told the council that he and Officer Alan Bourmes now spend several hours each day serving as resource officers at the two schools, which began classes last week. The officers are present in the morning and afternoon, when school is taking up and letting out, and they interact with students as well.

Dingus said that Letcher County Board of Education pays the officers for the time they spend at the schools. He said they fulfill their regular duties and hours during the rest of the day.

Dingus also reported to the city council that Bourmes has completed the required 40 hours of training to serve as a sexual assault investigator. Dingus said that by completing the 40-hour training session in the investigation of sexual assault, Bourmes is now an official sexual assault investigator. In 2016, in response to a backlog of “rape kits” (evidence kits in sexual assault cases), Kentucky Senate Bill 63 mandated that law enforcement agencies have approved policies on the disposition of sexual assault cases. The legislation established that a 40-hour training curriculum in sexual assault investigation for law enforcement officers be in place by 2017, and required that by 2019 at least one officer in every agency receive that training. The act was signed into law in April 2016.

According to the provisions of the bill, law enforcement agencies must have officers trained in sexual assault investigations prior to Jan. 1, 2019, and agencies with five or fewer officers must have at least one officer trained in sexual-assault investigations. Agencies must comply by Jan. 1, 2019 or they may lose KLEFPF (Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund) funding. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office received a $3 million grant in February 2018 to expedite the investigation and examination of sexual assault evidence kits.

Dingus also told the council that the city has received a check from its insurance company for damage to the town’s police truck several weeks ago and it will go to a body shop soon for repairs.

In other business, the council learned the city had a 17 percent loss of treated water in July. Water Manager Chris Banks reported that renovation work on the city’s water plant at McRoberts is going very well and is about 80 percent complete. Angela Smith-Hall of the Kentucky River Area Development District said the projected completion date for Phase I of the water plant renovation is September 30, and when the work is finalized the city will apply for grant funding for Phase II.

City Councilman James D. Collins, who also serves on the Neon Days committee, announced that Neon Days will be held September 7-8. Collins said the Kudzu Killers rock band of Harlan County will highlight the Friday evening performance and multi-genre artist Dixie Lynn will perform on Saturday. Collins said a schedule of events will be completed soon.

Collins also reported there are several places on Henry Hutton Drive that need to be patched when asphalt becomes available. Mayor Susie Polis said the city has a small amount of money for road repairs this year.

Council Member Linda Cantrell thanked Deputy Letcher County Jailer Luther

Tackett for bringing inmates in to cut weeds in the town, and Councilman Brett Holland praised city workers for the work they do in keeping things clean and operating. He asked if there was a way to give the workers a raise and Polis said the city would first need to generate more revenue. Tax rates for the upcoming year will be set soon and she said that the council will need to discuss collecting delinquent city property taxes during the next meeting.

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