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Oak Ridge Police working at ORNL?

 
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nmulvenon



Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2005 3:29 pm    Post subject: Oak Ridge Police working at ORNL? Reply with quote

I read in Saturday's (30 April) Knoxville News Sentinel that the Oak Ridge Police may be enforcing the speed limit for ORNL on Bethel Valley Road. What is this all about? I think the City of Oak Ridge should be taking care of our own crime and traffic issues and not renting our police to ORNL.
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Norman Mulvenon
118 Concord Rd
Oak Ridge, TN
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Ellen
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Joined: 15 May 2004
Posts: 209
Location: Oak Ridge, Tennessee

PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2005 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a similar concern when this was announced at ORNL a couple of days ago (as part of Jeff Wadsworth's periodic message to staff).

I was relieved to see that ORNL would be paying the City for its services, as DOE's failure to pay taxes (the usual way to pay for city services) has been a sore point for the City.

However, the city is short on police right now. The Oak Ridge Police Dept. has chronically been a few officers short of its authorized staffing level. Reportedly, one reason is that Wackenhut's hiring of security officers for the DOE sites has been diverting officers and potential recruits away from local police and sheriff departments. I suspect that the number of Wackenhut security people on duty at ORNL (not counting the ones at Y-12 and ETTP) at any given time may actually exceed the number of police officers on duty in the entire City of Oak Ridge.

The situation on Bethel Valley Road does not impress me as a particularly high priority for police attention. (I work at ORNL, so I drive on that road pretty frequently... Traffic volumes are low compared with the "old days" before the road was closed. However, there are concerns that people aren't slowing down enough when passing through areas with ongoing construction and when approaching the two structures where security officers check badges and incoming vehicles.)

This may be a moot issue, since that article in today's paper says that Oak Ridge police apparently don't have the legal authority to cite speeders on federal property not generally open to the public. However, if city traffic laws can apply on Bethel Valley Road, I wonder if the Oak Ridge Police Dept. could find a way to deputize Wackenhut security officers to enforce city traffic laws on DOE property. Given the imbalance in personnel strength, that would make more sense than diverting city patrolmen from more pressing duties in town. If the City staff is clever, maybe the City can still collect some sort of fee for services from DOE and its contractors. Wink
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Ellen
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Joined: 15 May 2004
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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

City manager Jim O'Connor says that the City staff has been talking with DOE and its contractors about various ways that they could cooperate in policing, including getting them to help augment our police (not just paying for patrol services on Bethel Valley Road). Thumbs Up
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