HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.... I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX...
MACON POLICE FIRED THREE OFFICERS WEDNESDAY AFTER INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS AT THE DEPARTMENT.
CAPTAIN JIMMY BARBEE... HEAD OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS... SAYS THEY INVESTIGATED 247 CASES THAT LED TO DISCIPLINES LAST YEAR.
THAT COULD INCLUDE ANYTHING FROM A VERBAL REPRIMAND... TO FIRING.
BRITTINY BARBER LOOKED INTO HOW THE DEPARTMENT HANDLES CHARGES AGAINST FELLOW OFFICERS.
TOMMY PIKE FOUND HIMSELF ACCUSING A MACON POLICE OFFICER... OF THE VERY THING HE THOUGHT THE OFFICER WAS EXPECTED TO STOP...
Tommy: "These men are sworn to uphold the law and you don't want to believe an officer would do something like this.
AFTER HIS T-V WAS DELIVERED TO THE WRONG ADDRESS.. THE OFFICER AND HIS WIFE... KEPT IT...
AND TOLD PIKE THEY DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE T-V WHICH THEY SIGNED FOR...
Tommy: "I knew it was someone here in the apartment but I didn't know who."
AFTER PIKE ALERTED POLICE....OFFICER ANTHONY CASON AND HIS WIFE FELICIA WERE ARRESTED... AND CASON LOST HIS JOB...
WEDNESDAY POLICE SAID THEY ALSO FIRED OFFICER FREDDIE FOUNTAIN.. FOR ]HAVING SEX WITH A SUSPECT.
Barbee: "who investigated this? Macon police department. Who put them in jail. Macon police department. We will police ourselves, we'll hold ourselves to a higher than we will citizens."
CAPTAIN JIMMY BARBEE... HEADS THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS DIVISION..
Barbee: "We are not judge and jury here in internal affairs we simply gather the facts. Look and see what policy violation has been committed.
BARBEE SAYS LAST YEAR 247 COMPLAINTS CAME IN... 147 CAME FROM OTHER OFFICERS... 100 CAME FROM OUTSIDE.
AND HE SAYS SIX OFFICERS LOST THEIR JOBS.. FOR THOSE COMPLAINTS...
Barbee: I wish I could sit here and saw that we will never have any bad police officers because of yesterday. I'll sit here right now and say yes we will....
FOR PIKE.. OFFICERS SOLVING THE CRIME... HELPED CHANGED THE WAY HE FEELS.
Tommy: I have faith in them now. Like I said Sgt Batchelor and Lt. Daniels they made me have faith in the department again."
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> MACON POLICE SAY THE THIRD FIRED OFFICER....WILLIAM STEWART...WILL BE LET GO BECAUSE HE KNEW ABOUT OFFICER FOUNTAIN'S MISCONDUCT...AND DID NOT TELL INVESTIGATORS.
THE DEPARTMENT SAYS DISCIPLINE FOR POLICY VIOLATIONS COMES FROM A REVIEW BOARD... MADE OF OF OTHER OFFICERS... AND CAN BE APPEALED..
BARBEE SAYS POLICE CHIEF MIKE BURNS HAS CALLED 2012... THE YEAR OF ACCOUNTABILITY... BECAUSE HE PLANS TO HOLD SUPERVISORS MORE ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT GOES ON IN THEIR UNITS...
WARNER ROBINS' FIRE CHIEF SAYS THE SOUTHERN END.OF THE CITY NEEDS MORE PROTECTION.
HE WANTS THE CITY TO BUILD A NEW STATION NEAR HIGHWAY 96... TO INCREASE RESPONSE TIMES.
THE REQUEST IS ON THE HOUSTON PENNY SALES TAX LIST.. WHICH IS ON THE MARCH 6TH BALLOT.
THE CHIEF EXPLAINED TO LORRA LYNCH JONES WHY HE BELIEVES A SEVENTH STATION IS NEEDED FOR TAXPAYERS' PROTECTION.
<<nats- showing thermal imaging
THIRTY YEARS AGO...
WHEN ROBERT SINGLETARY JOINED THE WARNER ROBINS FIRE DEPARTMENT...
THERMAL IMAGING CAMERAS DIDN'T EXIST.
14 YEARS AGO WHEN HE BECAME CHIEF... THE CITY WAS 15 SQUARE SMILES SMALLER.
Robert Singletary: (:30) "In 1998, this was the footprint of the city of warner robins. At that time we had six stations.
THEY STILL HAVE SIX STATIONS... WITH A 70-PERCENT INCREASE IN COVERAGE AREA... AND 20-THOUSAND MORE PEOPLE.
Robert Singletary: (1:20) "All the green is property that's been annexed since 1998."
MUCH OF IT IS ON THE SOUTH END OF THE CITY... IN AREAS NEAR HIGHWAY 96... WHERE NO FIRE STATION HAS BEEN BUILT.
Robert Singletary (10:50) "Weve done everything we can in the past several years to increase our coverage area at the lease amount of cost to the citizens. We can't do anything else. Now, were going to have to add a new fire station."
Lorra Lynch Jones, EWN: "In the Highway 96 area, if I make a call now, it will take fire fighters from the Moody Road or Lake Joy fire station six to eight minutes to get here. If a new fire station is built here, it will cut that response time in half."
Robert Singletary: (12:15) "The quicker we can get there, the quicker we can start extinguishing the fire."
HE'S ASKING FOR 750-THOUSAND TO BUILD THE SEVENTH STATION... IN THE SPLOST.
nats- (13:10) "If the SPLOST doesn't pass, we still need it."
SINGLETARY SAYS THE CITY WILL HAVE TO BUILD ONE ANYWAY TO PROVIDE PROTECTION TO THE GROWING.. AND KEEP HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE RATES AT THE LOWEST RATE POSSIBLE... FOR THE ENTIRE CITY.
STD>> SINGLETARY SAYS HIS DEPARTMENT'S CALL VOLUME HAS MORE THAN TRIPLED SINCE 1998... THE LAST TIME A FIRE STATION WAS ADDED.
EARLY VOTING FOR THE HOUSTON SPLOST STARTED THIS WEEK.
ELECTION DAY IS TUESDAY... MARCH 6TH.
BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONER LONZY EDWARDS SAYS HE'D LIKE TO REPRESENT DISTRICT ONE FOR ANOTHER TERM.
IF ELECTED... IT WOULD BE HIS SECOND FULL TERM IN THE DISTRICT... WHICH COVERS MUCH OF THE EASTERN PART OF THE COUNTY.
EDWARDS SAYS HIS REASONS FOR RUNNING... INCLUDE OVERSEEING SPLOST SPENDING.
Commissioner Lonzy Edwards, Bibb County: 00:54 It's vitally important that that money is spent responsibly so that when we finish building the buildings and doing all the things that we're committed to doing. People will realize this is something that we'll be doing again.
THE PRIMARY ELECTION FOR COUNTY SEATS WILL BE JULY 31ST... AND THE GENERAL ELECTION IS NOVEMBER SIXTH.
THIS WEEK... EVERY PUBLIC SCHOOL IN BIBB COUNTY WILL HOLD A MEETING SO PARENTS AND STAFF CAN GIVE FEEDBACK OR ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MACON MIRACLE STRATEGIC PLAN.
SCHOOL OFFICIALS NOTIFIED PARENTS BY LETTERS... EMAIL AND TEXT MESSAGES.
THE SCHOOLS HOLDING MEETINGS TONIGHT INCLUDE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL.
ABOUT 40 PEOPLE CAME TO THAT MEETING... AND MOST RAISED THEIR HANDS WHEN CENTRAL'S PRINCIPAL ASKED HOW MANY WERE DISTRICT EMPLOYEES.
WE SPOKE TO THE MOTHER OF ONE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN.
SHE SAID LACK OF COMMUNICATION WAS A MAJOR PROBLEM, AND TOLD US SHE WASN'T EVEN AWARE THERE WAS A FEEDBACK FORM FOR PARENTS TO SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS ON THE PLAN.
Alice White, Bibb County Parent: No, I was not aware there was a feedback form. And that's part of the problem. I did not even know there was that optiono out there for us to contact the board and voice our opinions.
CANDACE ADORKA IS AT CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL'S MEETING NOW.
WE'LL HAVE MORE TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11... 13WMAZ DOT COM... AND M-A-Z MOBILE.
A NEW HOMELESS SHELTER WILL OPEN ITS DOORS NEAR DOWNTOWN MACON NEXT WEEK.
STARTING MONDAY... DAYBREAK SHELTER ON WALNUT STREET WILL HAVE A READING AREA OPEN TO HOMELESS PEOPLE ONE DAY A WEEK.
THE SHELTER SAYS.... THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING.
THEY PLAN TO RENOVATE THE ENTIRE BUILDING AND OFFER MEDICAL... JOB-HUNTING AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES.
AUSTIN LEWIS TAKES A LOOK AT THEIR PLANS... AND HOW YOU CAN HELP... IN TONIGHT'S HERO CENTRAL REPORT.
SISTER ELIZABETH GREIM AND DENISE SATURNA HAVE A LOT TO DO---
THEY'RE SORTING THROUGH BOOKS--- nats
nats AND MOVING FURNITURE---
ALL TO GET READY TO OPEN UP THE DOORS FOR A READING AREA WHERE HOMELESS PEOPLE CAN SPEND TIME DURING THE DAY.
Sister Elizabeth Greim, Director of Daybreak Shelter: You might read a book, you might do a puzzle, you might get the family there to do a game, those are the type of activities that we want to do.
Austin Lewis, Eyewitness News: Organizers tell me that ideally this will be a place that people can come have a cup of coffee and read a book, just like you would in your living room.
Denise Saturna, Founder of Come To Fountain:I want to make sure that our friends, my friends and family that live on the street or live on the edge have a chance to participate in that kind of atmosphere
THIS IS JUST ONE SERVICE THAT THEY'RE PLANNING TO PROVIDE....
THEY WANT TO TRANSFORM THIS SPACE INTO A PLACE WHERE THE HOMELESS CAN GET MEDICAL, MENTAL HEALTH AND JOB HUNTING SERVICES.
BUT SINCE THIS WOULD TAKE AWHILE---THEY WANTED TO HELP PEOPLE RIGHT AWAY.
Sister Elizabeth Greim, Director of Daybreak Shelter: If we wait for this to be done, then we're missing and losing a lot of opportunity to build those relationships.
LISA RAIMONDA OF MACON IS GLAD THEY AREN'T WAITING---SHE'D RATHER SPEND HER AFTERNOONS AT THE DAYBREAK SHELTER'S READING AREA THAN ON THE STREETS.
Lisa Raimonda, Macon: I will be going because I like the people there, you know I like the people, the good spiritual environment.
SHELTER ORGANIZERS SAY THERE IS STILL LOTS TO DO...AND MORE SUPPLIES THEY NEED FROM BIG ITEMS LIKE COMFY CHAIRS... TO SMALL ITEMS LIKE COFFEE MUGS.
AUSTIN LEWIS 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
AGAIN... THE SHELTER'S READING AREA WILL BE OPEN MONDAY FROM NOON UNTIL ABOUT 4 P-M.
THEY HOPE TO BEGIN RENOVATING THE REST OF THE BUILDING NEXT MONTH... AND PLAN TO HAVE THE READING AREA OPEN ONCE A WEEK DURING THOSE CHANGES.
FOR A LIST OF SUPPLIES YOU CAN DONATE.... JUST LOOK FOR THIS STORY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
THE ROSA PARKS PARK ACROSS FROM MACON'S CITY HALL... WILL NEARLY DOUBLE IN SIZE.
TODAY... CREWS STARTED TEARING UP TWO PARKING LOTS NEAR THE PARK.
CITY EXTERNAL AFFAIRS DIRECTOR CHRIS FLOORE SAYS THEY WILL GRADE THE SURFACE AND LAY NEW SOD OVER THE NEXT TWO TO FOUR WEEKS.
FLOORE SAYS THE LARGER SIZE WILL BE A BETTER TRIBUTE TO THE CIVIC HEROES MEMORIALIZED IN THE PARK... AND OFFER MORE TO THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE DOWNTOWN.
It provides us a much larger green park are in the center of the our city. As you know there's a lot of lofts downtown and theyre looking at expanding even more lofts and this provides those residents a new park.
A TEN THOUSAND DOLLAR GRANT FROM STATE BANK AND TRUST WILL FUND THE PROJECT.
THE MAYOR SUGGESTED A NAME CHANGE FOR THE PARK... BUT CITY COUNCIL DECIDED LAST MONDAY TO KEEP IT THE ROSA PARKS MEMORIAL PARK.
HERE'S AN UPDATE TO A STORY WE BROUGHT YOU EARLIER.
THE BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT SAYS THEY'LL HAVE A PUBLIC FORUM NEXT WEEK...FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO COMMENT ON THEIR MACON MIRACLE STRATEGIC PLAN.
THAT MEETING WILL TAKE PLACE NEXT THURDAY...THE 23RD....AT SOUTHWEST HIGH SCHOOL ON WILLIAMSON ROAD. IT STARTS AT 6.
ANYONE CAN COMMENT...BUT THE DISTRICT SAYS YOU MUST FILL OUT A FORM BEFORE THE MEETING TO SPEAK.
BOWDEN GOLF COURSE IN MACON TOOK CENTER STAGE DURING A MACON FILM FESTIVAL SHOWING TODAY.
COLISEUM HEALTH SYSTEM EXECUTIVE... SAM MACFIE (MC-FEE) SHOWCASED THE HISTORY OF THE COURSE IN HIS FILM.... "PLAYING IT DOWN."
THE DOCUMENTARY FOCUSES ON AFRICAN AMERICAN CADDIES IN THE 1960s...AND THEIR STRUGGLE TO BECOME GOLFERS AFTER INTEGRATION.
MACFIE SAYS HE HOPES GOLFERS... AND NON-GOLFERS... WILL LEARN A LESSON FROM THEIR STORIES.
I think this shows that we have so much more in common than separates us. I think that's the expeience that I've had and a lot of other people have had. There's more that unites us, whether it's in Macon or in our country. I think if we focus on those things that bring us together, enjoy time spent with each other, cut up, poke a little fun at each other. I think if we get to that point then we're in good shape.
YOU CAN CATCH MCFIE'S FILM AGAIN TOMORROW AT THREE THIRTY... AT THE 567 CENTER FOR RENEWAL... ON CHERRY STREET.
ALSO LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR WEBSITE... YOU'LL FIND A LINK THE ENTIRE FESTIVAL'S SCHEUDLE... INSIDE
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.