By Ray King

The Public Safety Committee of the Pine Bluff City Council’s Zoom meeting Wednesday was a brief one as Committee Chairman Council Member Glen Brown Jr., and Council Member Joni Alexander heard reports from both the Fire and Emergency Services Department and Animal Control before adjourning. The third member of the committee, Council Member Bruce Lockett was not present.

Fire and Emergency Services Chief Shauwn Howell, in his report, said one of his concerns was an increase in the number of residential fires in December and described that as a “seasonal change,” meaning increased cooking during the holidays.

Howell said the department still has a few minor items to close out the statistics for 2020 and expects that to be done shortly.

On another subject, Howell said a long-term plan to replace fire trucks and upgrade stations, what he described as big ticket items is in the works.

Animal Control Director Marcus Graydon said his department is finalizing the process of acquiring two new trucks and cages for animal control officers and is looking at replacing the department’s other two trucks next year.

Graydon said animal control has brought in 65 animals this month and eight dogs recently left for their “forever homes.”

No representative of the Police Department was present, and Brown said he would get with Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant later to see if that department had any particular needs or concerns and would call a special committee meeting if necessary.

The committee meeting was announced during committee reports at the council’s meeting Tuesday night.