Vidalia police officer honored for 45 years of service

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, September 9, 2015

VIDALIA — The Vidalia Board of Aldermen honored at its meeting Tuesday a long-time member of the Vidalia Police Department.

Mayor Hyram Copeland and Police Chief Arthur Lewis presented officer Charles Ferguson with a certificate of appreciation for 45 years service.

“I really love what I am doing, I like doing police work, and if I didn’t I wouldn’t be here,” Ferguson said. “Sometimes I think I am ready to go, but then September comes and I say, ‘You aren’t ready yet.’”

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Alderman Tron McCoy said it was important to recognize people while they were doing good work, and said he believes the community is coming to a point where people once again run to police instead of run from them.

“Who wants to deal with the bad element of the community, who wants to put (themselves) on the line, except somebody who cares?” McCoy said. “Because of you all who wear that badge, that shield, is why we are safe in the city.”

During the meeting, the board also voted to pre-file an ordinance that will ultimately require the installation of backflow prevention devices on some water lines in the city, an ordinance Utilities Manager Mark Morace said was a “strong suggestion” from the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Rebecca Bellemin with B&B Technical Training and Services, who is serving as the city’s consultant in regard to the matter, said the devices would be required for businesses whose operations might overpower the pressure of the city’s water mains, leading to water re-entering the city system.

“You’ve got something like the excessive power of a car wash that could overpower the pressure of the line,” Bellemin said. “Someone down the street is trying to get a drink and all of a sudden there is soap in their cup.”

Other businesses that could be considered high risk for backflow issues are medical and dental clinics, large retail and some restaurants, Bellemin said.

“For the most part, the people we don’t consider a high risk are places like a real estate office, a CPA office, a place where you’re pushing paper and don’t really have anything to do with the water,” she said.

Residences would for the most part be left alone unless they have an irrigation system or an in-ground pool, she said.

City Attorney Scott McLemore said the version of the ordinance pre-filed Tuesday night may be subject to change as the city further reviews it and may not pass in its present state.