Cannelton gets new street chief, part-time policeman

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

City leaders approve funding for electronic traffic tickets

CANNELTON - Cannelton has a new street commissioner, Mayor Smokey Graves announced at public-works and council meetings Monday.

He also bumped a reserve police officer to part-time status to replace another who took a job at the Branchville Correctional Facility.

Charlie Davis will oversee street-department operations beginning Monday, the mayor said. Davis' selection comes on the heels of former Street Commissioner Jimmy Maffia's resignation, reported in the May 22 edition of The Perry County News.

Graves said he asked Maffia to resign, but wouldn't say why. Appointed to retain the job when Graves began his term in January, Maffia said his ouster was politically motivated, but also declined to provide details.

As The News reported in June 2007, then-Mayor Melvin McBrayer demoted Maffia and appointed Mark Kellems to the top spot in the department.

"We had some interdepartment problems and bumped Jimmy to street-department helper to make room for Mark," McBrayer said at the time.

Micah Jackson's elevation to part-time police officer was effective immediately, Graves said. He will undergo training beginning in January, the mayor said. Patrolman Jeff Dickenson accepted a job at Branchville, creating the vacancy, he told the council.

High-Tech Traffic Tickets

In other police business, the public-works board and council approved a request from Chief Kenny Kellems to purchase systems designed to streamline traffic tickets.

A May 2007 news release from the Indiana Supreme Court's Judicial Technology and Automation Committee and Indiana Criminal Justice Institute were collaborating with law-enforcement agencies to field an Electronic Citation and Warning System that allows officers to transmit ticket and accident information to their offices and courthouses instead of hand-delivering them.

"Criminal justice will fund 75 percent of the cost," Kellems told the city leaders. "It will cost us about $200 to outfit four cars."

State-police officers are adopting the system, the chief said, "and I think we'll be required to at some point."

He'd already secured a promise from the county prosecutor to provide $500 toward the $3,369 he needs for new equipment and modifications to existing equipment, and asked the Perry County Substance Abuse Committee for another $500 to augment the state funding. "I'm planning on it costing the city $270, or at most $770," he said. He pointed out the state funding may disappear and suggested the city act while it's available.

The public-works board sent a recommendation to the council, and the council agreed, to approve the spending if the state provides the funding share Kellems reported.