Seconds Matter! Campaign Enters Second Year

On Aug. 4, 2016, Dickson Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. and representatives of the city’s emergency services placed the first address marker at the home of Holly and Jeremy Spencer to launch the “Seconds Matter!” campaign to help save lives and property by making residences easier to identify. One year later, emergency services personnel have placed 1,000 free markers in yards throughout the city.

Weiss and local emergency services officials say they are committed to continuing the campaign to reach all of the more than 6,000 residences inside the City of Dickson.

“The inspiration behind the Seconds Matter! campaign remains as important today as it was when we placed that first marker on Murrell Street a year ago,” said Weiss. “When the Dickson City Council endorsed this campaign in July 2016, we committed ourselves to providing a uniform system for identifying houses that could cut precious seconds off the response time for our police, fire and emergency medical services personnel, which can mean the difference between life and death.”

Over the last year, personnel from the Dickson Police Department, Dickson Fire Department and Emergency Communications Department have gone door to door through Dickson neighborhoods, asking residents for permission to place a black metal post with reflective numbers at a visible location near the street in front of their homes. The program is not mandatory and residents must give permission. While there, the emergency personnel also hand out materials on fire safety, crime prevention, neighborhood watch programs and steps to make the home safer as well as other informational material. At residences where nobody is home, the personnel leave a door hanger with information on how to obtain an address marker.

Dickson Police Department Chief Jeff Lewis said progress on placing the markers picked up over the summer when more people were home while school was out.

“During the summer break, we were able to assign our School Resource Officers part of the time to assist in the door-to-door campaign,” Lewis said. “Crime Prevention Officer David Cole and Dickson Fire Department Public Safety Educator Julia Holt have been primarily responsible for distributing the markers, with assistance from other officers, firefighters and dispatchers as personnel are available.”

Dickson Fire Department Chief Richard Greer said the Seconds Matter! campaign has a side benefit that could result in a reduction of insurance premiums for residents in the city.

“The City of Dickson is currently undergoing an audit by the Insurance Service Organization, which sets a rating that insurance companies use in determining premiums for homeowners,” Greer said. “Not only does reducing response time have a favorable impact on that rating, but the contact we have with residents when it comes to promoting fire safety in the home also is a consideration that could lower our rating.”

A committee consisting of Greer, Holt, Cole, Communications Director Rosalind Sowell, then-Police Chief Ricky Chandler and Dickson County 911 Director Paul McCallister came up with the proposal to cut down on the time it takes emergency services to locate a home. The Dickson City Council endorsed the campaign and the City of Dickson pays for the markers and reflective letters that are offered to residents at no charge. Emergency services personnel determine the best location for the marker to provide the most visibility and because of the uniform appearance emergency responders know what to look for in identifying a location.

While the door-to-door campaign has covered less than half the city in the first year, Sowell said residents who know they want a marker don’t have to wait for personnel to reach their neighborhoods.

“People can call the police department at 615-446-5403 and put their name on a list for a marker and set up a time for someone to come to their homes,” Sowell said. “We can’t just put it in the yard because we do require a signature for permission. That’s why we leave the door hangers, so you will know we came by and you can call to arrange for us to come back.”

Weiss, who said he has a marker at his home, said he remains committed to making sure every resident of the City of Dickson who wants a marker will get one.

“As long as it takes, we will make every effort to visit every home in the city as well as respond to requests for markers,” Weiss said. “We might never know how much of a difference having a marker has made, but our police officers, firefighters, communications and emergency medical staff can tell you horror stories about the difficulty not having a marker has made.”

City Administrator Rydell Wesson told the council last year he estimates it will cost $25,000-$30,000 and take 4-5 years to cover the entire city. Aside from Holt and Cole, fire, police and communications personnel are assigned to the door-to-door campaign as they are available without neglecting their normal duties or creating more costs through overtime. The campaign also has tried to vary the times of day officers go door to door in order to reach more people.

 

PHOTO CUTLINE

 

On Aug. 4, 2016, Dickson Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. officially kicked off the Seconds Matter! campaign by placing the first address marker. Participating in the ceremony were (left to right) then-Police Chief Ricky Chandler, Fire Chief Richard Greer, homeowner Jeremy Spencer, 911 Director Paul McCallister, Emergency Communications Director Rosalind Sowell, Weiss, Fire Safety Educator Julia Holt and Crime Prevention Officer David Cole.

Mayor Recognizes Robert Durham

 

Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. and the Dickson City Council recognized Robert Durham for his more than 48 years of service in the natural gas industry with a proclamation and plaque Monday night.

Durham retired as general manager of the Greater Dickson Gas Authority on June 30.

Weiss pointed out that Durham began his career with the City of Dickson’s Gas Department when he started working as a welder on Dec. 9, 1968. In 1975, Durham was named manager of the utility while it was still a department of the City of Dickson.

Under a private act passed by the Tennessee General Assembly, the City of Dickson Gas Department merged with the Sam Houston Utility District to form the Greater Dickson Gas Authority in July 1989 and Durham was named the first general manager of the new entity, serving until his recent retirement.

After being first elected to the Dickson City Council in 1987, Weiss said he was appointed to the city’s Gas Committee for the last 20 months before the merger. As mayor for the last 24 years, Weiss has served on the gas authority’s five-member board of directors. Weiss is the last city elected official still in office from when Dickson operated the gas department.

During the almost 49 years he has worked in the natural gas industry, Durham guided the utility’s growth from the city’s 67 miles of main lines and 448 service lines to the authority’s current 796 miles of main lines and 17,692 services lines in five counties serving 11 municipalities. In 1995, the authority expanded with the purchase of the Town of Erin’s gas department in Houston County.

The proclamation recognizes Durham’s leadership in the natural gas industry, having served as president of the Tennessee Gas Authority, on numerous boards and committees with the TGA and American Public Gas Association and as chairman of the board for the Tennessee Energy Acquisition Corporation.

Durham received the M.M. Bullard Award from the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts for financial and operational excellence and The Silver Flame Award from the TGA for excellence in service to the natural gas industry.

With several family and friends in the audience, Durham thanked the mayor and council for the recognition.

“I enjoyed working for the city and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity as being general manager and CEO of the authority since 1975, as Mayor Weiss said,” Durham said. “We as a city were basically hemmed in and couldn’t grow. Of course the city has grown and the population of the city has grown and of course we have grown with that. But we were allowed to obtain a lot more territory and able to expand the services to a large part of Dickson County as well as other surrounding counties. I appreciate the opportunity and thank you very much.”

Upon Durham’s retirement, the board of directors selected Mark O’Neal as the second general manager of the Greater Dickson Gas Authority effective July 1.

 

PHOTO CUTLINE

 

Dickson Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. (left) congratulates Robert Durham (right) in recognition of his more than 48 years of service with the City of Dickson Gas Department and the Greater Dickson Gas Authority.

City’s Statement on Officer Involved Shooting

On Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, officers of the Dickson Police Department were involved in the pursuit of a vehicle that had been reported stolen. That pursuit ended in Hickman County where one officer was involved in a physical altercation that resulted in a suspect being shot and killed.

 

Within minutes of the shooting, Dickson Police Department Chief Jeff Lewis notified District Attorney Ray Crouch Jr., whose 23rd Judicial District includes Dickson County. District Attorney Kim Helper, whose 21st Judicial District includes Hickman County, also was notified of the shooting. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called to the scene to investigate the shooting and will present its report to Helper’s office.

 

Lewis said the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the conclusion of the investigation. Neither that officer nor another Dickson Police Department officer who was involved in the pursuit was injured during the incident.

 

The names of the officers involved in the pursuit and incident are not being released due to the ongoing investigation by the TBI and pending review by the District Attorney’s Office for the 21st Judicial District.

 

Dickson City Administrator Rydell Wesson referred all questions to the TBI and District Attorney Kim Helper.

 

Notice of Public Meeting – Education Board

The Dickson County Board of Education has called a SPECIAL SESSION to be held 6:00 P.M. ON THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2017 For the purpose of taking any action on the 2017-2018 Proposed School Budget. This meeting is held in conjunction with the Board’s July Planning Session. For any questions or additional information please contact the Director of Schools’ Office 615-446-7571 or email dweeks@dcbe.org.

Chief Ricky Chandler’s Retirement Effective Immediately

Dickson Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. announced Wednesday that Chief Ricky
Chandler has made his pending retirement effective immediately and Jeff Lewis has been
appointed interim chief of the Dickson Police Department.
Weiss announced at the May 1 meeting of the Dickson City Council that Chandler had notified
him of his plan to retire effective July 3 after 33 years of service with the department, including
the last 25 as chief. Weiss said he was notified Tuesday by Chandler that he is making his
retirement effective immediately.

The city has already begun the process of selecting a new chief of police. Weiss named Lewis to
serve as interim chief until a replacement is selected.

Lewis has worked for the City of Dickson for 29 years, starting as a police officer, then serving
as director of the Parks and Recreation Department and currently is director of the Public Works
Department, which includes the street, sanitation, parks, building and grounds, fleet
maintenance, cemetery and right-of- way maintenance departments.

“I am confident that with his law enforcement and supervisory experience, Jeff will be able to
keep the Dickson Police Department operating at its normal professional level until a new chief
is named,” Weiss said in making the announcement. “Jeff has been overseeing a department with
a budget in excess of $5 million, almost equal to the police and fire department budgets
combined, with a staff comparable in size to those departments. He will rely on the men and
women of the City of Dickson’s Police and Public Works departments to be a critical part of
maintaining our high level of service through this transition.”

The announcement was made to supervisors in both departments Wednesday morning. Weiss
said he hopes to have a new chief of the Dickson Police Department named by the start of the
new fiscal year on July 1.