Melvin Scott, a veteran of 22 years in law enforcement, 14 of them with the Rome Police Department, said he first made the pitch to NWGHA Executive Director Sandra Hudson last year.
“There was no particular incident that occurred that brings this request,” Scott said. “It’s just a matter of moving forward and having a security coordinator that is an armed security coordinator.”
Scott said up-to-date security cameras are being installed in the newest units, but allowing him to be armed would be a step in better protecting residents and visitors.
Scott, who estimated that crime in public housing communities was down by about 5 percent in 2012, called his request a proactive step.
“It is my duty to prepare, establish and recommend changes not only after incidents, but to prepare for any incidents,” Scott said. “If approved, I will make sure that we write strict guidelines to govern myself and any future security coordinator.”
NWGHA board member Michael Taylor suggested the involvement of a third party in the development of a formal policy regarding firearms. Scott said he would be more than happy to involve personnel with the Rome Police Department who have experience in developing a policy manual.
NWGHA member Lillie Dyar asked if carrying a Taser would accomplish the same objective.
Scott said a Taser provides a non-lethal alternative, but added that the need for deadly force could arise.
The board asked Scott to develop a policy and procedures manual that can be presented to the board. Hudson was also asked to determine if the authority’s insurance would cover a security officer who carried a weapon.
In other action, Phillip Steers, the new director of finance for the NWGHA, told the board that he could not present a year-end statement yet.
Auditor Dale Rector told the authority back in September 2012 that the fiscal records of the housing authority were in disastrous condition.
“We’re making progress,” Steers told the board Thursday.
Hudson told the board that the Authority has closed on the acquisition of the old Euharlee School in Rockmart for $71,000 and restated her belief that the property would be ideal for conversion to a senior living complex.
Board member Dyar, one of the authority members from Rockmart, said the city currently does not have any housing designated specifically for the elderly. “They would appreciate it,” she said.