Athens Review, Athens, Texas

February 19, 2014

Murchison considers police department

Chad Wilson
The Athens Review

Athens — Murchison city officials want a police department, or at least an officer. Yet turning a want into a reality is not an easy process.

As part of a special city council meeting Tuesday, city leaders briefly discussed adding a department.

“I need a motion to table this item for now because we are still looking into applications and if the city can even afford it,” Mayor Pro-tem David Mages said.

Council unanimously agreed to table discussions on the possibility of adding a department until more information can be attained.

For several months the council has included the item on its agenda. With it being such a detailed process, city leaders said it could continue to appear on the agenda over the next couple of months as a discussion item only.

The need for a police presence in the city increased in November when Precinct 3 voters approved the sale of beer and wine.

After multiple elections within the city where voters turned down the sale of alcohol, the November election forced the city to turn wet.

While an increase in criminal activity has not been reported, city officials agree a police presence will be beneficial.

Police presence will also help patrol the school zone which is currently patrolled by DPS, constables or sheriff deputies.

Another project the city discussed, but needs more information to pursue, is adding an economic development corporation.

Councilwoman Ann Boyles is working with state officials to see what is best for the city.

It is possible the measure could be brought before a vote in November if details are worked out with the state.