Williamston Town Council approved three resolutions and heard from several residents during their meeting Monday.
Linda Roberts addressed recent criticism of the police department, stating officers have always been professional and helpful in the community and are eager to find a solution to problems. She said supports them and thinks they are doing a good job.
Bonnie McCullough asked for removal of confederate markers in the town and asked about the citizens advisory board she suggested at a previous meeting. McCullough said she would like to see someone from Williamston, not from outside the town, on the board. She said her neighborhood is a “high crime area” and that the police department treats it differently than other areas of the town. McCullough stated that when there are gun shots in the area, the police respond and ride through but do not make arrests. She said when shots were fired on main street recently, “they took care of that.” She also mentioned a truck that was on Greenville Drive for several days.
Vaughn Hunter said, “We have a good town” and “a good police department, but that it is “an extension of our country.” He made some comments about Trump and the need to get him out of office. (Editor’s note: Hunter was incorrectly identified as Brian Hunter in a previous article)
Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor reported the department is looking at three changes in procedures including changing the “choke hold” to deadly force classification, adding “duty to intervene in situations when an officer sees something not going right to intervene” and noting that the SC Supreme Court has ruled against use of no knock warrants.
Taylor said the department is also looking at more field training, use of body cameras (which they already do), and accreditation, which he said he believes every agency will have to abide by.
“It’s coming and we plan to get ahead of it,” he said.
He said the department is hiring a part time accreditation manager to get a head start. “We want to make sure we are the best we can be,” he said.
Debbie Chapman reported that the town and Envision Williamston are conducting a “check in” survey (see related story this issue.)
She also stated the importance of filling out a census. The town is at 61 percent. “We need to be at 100 percent,” she said. Chapman said census workers will be in the area beginning August 11. The census can also be filled out online or by phone according to Chapman.
In response to the COVID-19 situation, Council passed a resolution strongly encouraging the use of face masks or coverings for business employees and their customers in the town.
Williamston Mayor Mack Durham announced that Dr. T. Walter Brashier family has agreed to donate property adjoining the Anderson School District 1 & 2 Career and Technology Center to Tri County Technical College. Council passed a resolution recognizing the Brashier family for their support of education and in recognition of the property donation. The property includes 24 acres. (See story)
Council also approved a resolution in support of the extension of Cherokee Road to West Main Street in order to open up a major corridor into downtown Williamston. The proposal was recommended in the town’s 2016 Community Master Plan and recommended by the town’s planning commission. The resolution authorizes the Mayor to pursue grants and other available funding to complete this project as quickly as possible.
Mayor Durham thanked the community for tremendous response to the mask giveway held Saturday in the park.
He also said the town is working on a residential and retail plan.
Durham said the donation of property adjacent to the CTC, “is a great opportunity to expand education.”
He said he is also discussions with Lander University about possible options in the area.