Shenandoah City Council discussed the possibility of adding a civilian code enforcement officer as a function of the municipality court in the upcoming budget during a July 22 meeting.

If approved in final budget talks, the code enforcement officer would essentially replace the need for hiring an additional officer to the Shenandoah Police Department. The position would focus specifically on code and ordinance enforcement around the city.

Shenandoah Administrator Kathie Reyer said there is $59,160 requested for the budget for the position under community development, which includes salary, benefits, vehicle maintenance, travel and training.

"In the police department, [code enforcement] is part of their time," Reyer said. "Their attention is spread over a lot of different things. We see this as a huge benefit for the city. Not only would it free up police time; you would have somebody completely devoted to that role."

Reyer said the code enforcement officer would report to Shenandoah Municipal Court Judge Jackie Thompson.

Council Member Ted Fletcher said having the code enforcement position separate from the police department could offer a fresh perspective.

"A fresh pair of eyes that is actually pursuing the specifics ... goes a long way," Fletcher said.

Shenandoah Police Chief Troye Dunlap also stated that code enforcement regularly falls under the oversight of the municipal court, and the police department is in the process of shifting its focus to a different form of law enforcement.

"We're trying to get to a more community-oriented type of policing that doesn't involve a police officer knocking on your door, telling you that you need to mow your yard," Dunlap said. "If it was under us, we would still have to manage that, but if [the code enforcement officer] has an issue, he can always contact us."

Reyer added that other cities around Shenandoah have civilian code enforcement officers, and the city of Montgomery is currently in the process of transitioning to having one as well.

No actions were taken following the budget discussion.